Kizer Sheds Light on GSP/Penn Controversy

Written by Tom Ngo
February 2nd, 2009

The executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Keith Kizer, explains the Commission’s perspective on the “Vasolinegate” controversy that continues to surround this past weekend’s welterweight showdown between champion Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn at UFC 94. Kiser stated that he was disappointed in GSP’s cornermen and that they tainted his exceptional performance.

“After the 1stRound, one of my inspectors came to me and told me he thought he saw one of the cornermen — I believe it was Phil Nurse … after putting Vaseline on [St-Pierre’s] face, he saw him rub his shoulders, and it appeared as though he might not have wiped off his hands,” Kizer said.

Round two continued without the Commission intervening, however Kizer felt that he needed to step in before the 3rdRound started after he noticed improper activity.

“After round two, I watched him like a hawk,” said Kizer. “I’ve only entered the ring maybe three or four times (in my career) during a fight, but I did this time.

“They didn’t take a big glob and throw it on his back. After putting Vaseline on (St-Pierre’s) face, he put his hands on his body. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it was improper,” Kizer continued.

Kizer did confirm that an inspector used a towel to wipe St-Pierre’s back between rounds two and three, and three and four.

Although it is highly unlikely that the Commission would overturn St-Pierre’s dominating victory, his corner could be in some hot water if Penn’s camp decides to proceed with a formal complaint. In fact, they could be anyways if the Commission chooses to investigate on their own merit.

“There are four bases for Nevada law to overturn the outcome of a fight: a failed drug test, a scoring error, the referee misinterpreting and applying the rules, or collusion,” Kizer stated.

After the bout, Kizer expressed his disappointment in GSP’s trainer, Jackson, and Muay Thai coach, Nurse, for their behavior that night, whether it was intentional or not.

On Sunday night, Jay Dee Penn, BJ’s older brother, stated that they did intend to file a formal complaint with the Commission on Monday, however as of late afternoon, nothing had been sent.

“I told them I was disappointed and that they may have tainted Mr. St-Pierre’s victory,” he said. “I told them if it happens again, it will probably be the last time they work a corner in Nevada. Basically, they said, ‘Look, we’re sorry. We’re not trying to do anything. It was an accident.’ Whether it was intentional or not, I don’t know. It was improper.”

Jackson stated yesterday that it was a complete misunderstanding, and by no means were they trying to gain an illegal advantage.

“So in between rounds, (Steve Friend) had this little drill that you do – and Phil Nurse is the one who knows how to do it – he showed Phil, and this is what Georges wanted, so we did that,” Jackson told MMAWeekly.com. “But this is why we were doing it. He rubbed your back and tapped your chest; I don’t know exactly how it works. But anyways, what that’s supposed to do is get your energy in line, or motivated or whatever. So in between rounds, we had Phil Nurse do that.”

Steven Friend is a “witch doctor” that St-Pierre met when he first moved his training down to Jackson’s Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Friend has worked with many other MMA fighters, including former UFC champions Randy Couture and Matt Hughes.

“Of course, (Penn’s camp) is free to argue (that there is cause to overturn the outcome),” Kizer added. “(But) it was a violation of (St-Pierre’s) cornerman.”

Don’t forget to follow @5thRound on Twitter, Facebook and Google+!