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Penn Submits Formal Complaint Against GSP

Written by Tom Ngo
March 11th, 2009
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One month after receiving the beat-down of his life, BJ Penn still refuses to accept his loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Late Monday evening, Penn and his camp officially submitted a 20-page formal complaint to the Nevada State Athletic Commission seeking, among many other things, to have GSP’s license suspended.

The complaint requests for the Commission to hold a formal hearing seeking a laundry list of actions, including fines to St-Pierre, head trainer Greg Jackson, Muay Thai coach Phil Nurse, and unnamed parties for up to $250,000, suspend the licenses of GSP, Jackson, Nurse, as well as the unnamed co-conspirators, change the result of the bout to a “No Contest,” and require St-Pierre to undergo a pre-bout shower to make sure no illegal substances exist on his body.

The complaint, which was drafted by Penn’s attorney, Raffi Nahabedian, states that the Vaseline applied to GSP’s body played an integral role in the outcome of the fight.

“It is Penn’s belief … that the aforementioned strategies were intentional and were orchestrated by (St-)Pierre as a means to unfairly and illegally defeat Penn in a regulated and sanctioned championship bout that prohibits the aforementioned conduct and that such calculated actions by (St-)Pierre were implemented as a means to prevent Penn from defending himself in a manner consistent with that contemplated in unarmed combat due to the highly and unnaturally slippery nature of (St-)Pierre during the bout.”

Penn and Co. also allege that the French Canadian “ingested a substance that would cause his body to become highly and unnaturally slippery during the bout.”

When the controversy first erupted, Jackson clarified exactly what was going on in between rounds at UFC 94. 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.”

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.

Late last month, GSP’s camp responded to Penn’s request for the NSAC to conduct a “comprehensive investigation” into the events that took place on January 31st.

“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,” their document to the Commission read.

In addition, 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.”

It is highly unlikely that the Commission would overturn such a convincing victory, especially since they were alerted of the matter during the fight. It is possible GSP’s cornermen could face disciplinary actions of some sort.

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