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GSP and Co. Send Response to NSAC

Written by Tom Ngo
February 26th, 2009
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Georges St-Pierre and his camp have sent a response to the Nevada State Athletic Commission in regards to BJ Penn’s request to conduct a “comprehensive investigation” into the possible illegal use of Vaseline to the body of the UFC welterweight champ during their bout at UFC 94. 

St-Pierre thoroughly dominated Penn through the better part of 4Rounds, before the Hawaiian’s corner called a stop to the fight before the start of the 5thRound.

On Wednesday, GSP’s trainer Greg Jackson and Muay Thai coach Phil Nurse, the two cornermen that are being accused of the illegal act, submitted to the NSAC a 17-page response and video explaining that there was no preconceived intention on their part to “grease up” St-Pierre in order for him to gain a competitive advantage.

“If any Vaseline was left on [Nurse’s] hands… it could have only been a [minuscule] amount and clearly within the limitations of [statute] NAC 467.598,” the document read.

Before the start of the 2ndRound, NSAC agents were alerted that GSP’s cornermen were discretely rubbing his body with the substance.

The NSAC confronted GSP’s cornermen during the intermissions before the 3rd and 4thRounds, slightly wiping him down each time before the fight resumed.

When the controversy first erupted, Jackson clarified exactly what was going on in between rounds. He states that Nurse was replicating “witch doctor” strategies that the welterweight champion requested.

“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 said. “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.”

Accompanying the response to the Commission,  GSP’s camp provided signed affidavits from Nurse, Jackson, Steve Friend and the fighter’s grappling instructor John Danaher explaining the situation.

“After what I witnessed at the (Jon) Fitch fight, I was adamant with Georges and his corner that this technique be implemented before and during the BJ Penn fight,” Friend stated in his letter. “Consequently on the afternoon before the fight, I prepared Georges’ corner, and in particular Phil Nurse, on how to administer this technique of rubbing the back correctly.”

Danaher, a highly regarded Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor at Renzo Gracie’s New York City academy, professed that if St-Pierre was indeed greased up, he stood to lose just as much positional control from the Vaseline as Penn.

“In the course of the match Mr. St-Pierre scored with numerous sophisticated grappling techniques, takedowns, pins, guard passes etc. Lubricant doesn’t discriminate,” wrote Danaher. “If lubricant made Penn’s grappling ineffective, it should have also made St. Pierre’s grappling technique ineffective.”

In addition, Danaher pointed out that Penn had never before won an MMA bout while on his back. All of his submissions have been while he had back or top control.

GSP had Penn pinned on his back for the majority of their rematch.

In the response’s final page, St-Pierre’s camp makes a final statement of innocence, as well as their thoughts on why Penn is requesting the investigation.

“…we strongly believe that we have done nothing to violate Nevada State Athletic Commission rules, or to otherwise impugn the outcome of UFC 94, the integrity of the UFC, or the sport and that the letter constitutes nothing more than Mr. Penn’s desperate attempt to protect his reputation and commercial value after being totally dominated by a superior athlete.”

Completing their response to the Commission was a two-minute video demonstrating Friend’s breathing technique, which was also used on St-Pierre at UFC 83 when he defeated Matt Serra, at UFC 87 when he dominated Jon Fitch, Sean Sherk using the technique at UFC 84 when he fought Penn, and behind-the-scenes footage which captured St-Pierre’s locker room warmup before the UFC 94 bout.

Although the February 3rd inquiry by Penn’s camp was not a formal complaint, JD Penn, BJ’s older brother, stated that they are in the process of drafting one to file with the Commission shortly.

NSAC executive Director Keith Kizer will present both fighters’ submissions to the Commission members at a future meeting. It will be up to the board members to determine whether or not to take action, as well as bringing in both fighters to make their statements in person.

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