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The Saga Continues

Written by Tom Ngo
March 17th, 2009
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For those that were hoping Tuesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting, which BJ Penn, Phil Nurse and Greg Jackson all attended, would finally bring an end to the greasing controversy that immediately followed Penn’s UFC 94 loss to UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, sorry.

Before today’s proceedings began, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer specified that no disciplinary action would be made during the meeting. The Commission would only review the additional statements from both parties and take them under consideration.

Up to the plate first was the defense. GSP’s Muay Thai coach Phil Nurse apologized for applying Vaseline to St-Pierre before the 2ndRound of the rematch.

“I’m sorry that it’s come to all of this,” said Nurse. “I would never do anything to try and change a fight other than the fight to be straight how it’s supposed to be.”

Head trainer Greg Jackson then admitted they may have overlooked his and Nurse’s roles as cornermen during the January 31st affair. Jackson made it clear that if the greasing agent was applied to their fighter’s body, it was strictly by accident and was not something that they had conspired to do.

“I’m sorry it’s come to this,” Jackson said. “We certainly didn’t intend to cheat or break any rules or anything like that.”

The MMA guru told the Commission that he is the person that normally applies Vaseline to his fighters and Nurse conducts the massaging/breathing techniques during the intermissions.

“It was kind of a last-minute deal [to have Nurse apply the Vaseline that night],” Jackson claimed. “In hindsight, I probably should have done the Vaseline if [Nurse] was going to do the energy technique, but we were a little rushed to the cage. It will never happen again, believe me. We’re not even bringing Vaseline into the corner anymore.”

Jackson also said that he would be in favor of a rule change which would limit Vaseline application by impartial Commission officials from here on out.

The members of the NSAC then reviewed footage from UFC cameras that were dedicated to  St-Pierre’s corner during every intermission.

Penn’s lawyer, Raffi Nahabedian, soon took the stage and highlighted specific points that he and his client made in their 20-page complaint that was submitted to the Commission last week. He requested that the committee members take a closer look into their allegations.

Penn then took the mic and gave his best recollections of what took place before, during, and after the highly anticipated battle.

Although Penn refrained from accusing GSP of cheating directly, he did think out-loud as to why the French Canadian wouldn’t be in attendance for such a significant assembly.

“I’m very surprised that Mr. St-Pierre is not here because Mr. Nurse and Mr. Jackson are here because the Commission was on the lookout for Mr. St-Pierre,” Penn stated. “These guys got caught or however you want to say it.

“I don’t know how anyone would want to be the world champion with a belt around their waist that cheated to get there,” Penn continued. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

When a committee member asked Penn, point-blank, why he didn’t notify referee Herb Dean immediately about GSP’s unnatural levels of slickness, Penn stated that a concussion prevented him from thinking straight.

“I don’t remember much after the second round because of the beating that I took in the 2ndRound,” Penn said. “But I do remember somewhere in the 2ndRound – to be honest with you, I was thinking, ‘He knows I can’t hold him. He knows I can’t hold him. Now he’s just going to be fearless with what he’s doing because I can’t hold him.'”

The icing on the cake was when Penn’s mommy, Lorraine Shin, read a statement where she boldly accused the NSAC of negligence when it came to protecting the fighters.

“It’s not for the love of my son; it’s for my love of the sport,” Shin said. “It’s to protect every fighter that comes forward. It’s not for just my son. It’s to do the right thing.”

Penn and Co. had prepared a video as well, however the Commission was unable to view it due to time constraints.

“It’s up to the Commission to decide how much further they want to formally go on this,” NSAC executive director Keith Kizer said after the meeting concluded. “They could make regulatory changes, they could issue some sort of directive to me or the inspectors or referees to handle situations differently.”

Although no resolution was reached during today’s gathering, Kizer maintained he did not intend to issue a complaint against St-Pierre and his crew.

“I have no plans to bring anything against anybody in this case,” Kizer added.

Surprisingly, the commission ended the meeting without taking any steps towards assessing fault or setting a follow-up meeting to review possible rule changes.

As he was leaving the facility, NSAC chairman Bill Brady said that they may review the subject at a later time, though nothing is iminent.

“We heard the testimony and the questions,” said Brady.”It may be that we come forward with new rules that were suggested. That’s what this meeting was, an advisory meeting. We don’t want anything like this to happen again.”

Brady explained that the purpose of today’s meeting was to gather as much information as they could to make sure something like this never takes place again, and not to crucify anybody.

“At some future time, and I’m not saying by the next meeting, or it could be – there might be something that comes forward – and there might not be,” Brady said. “It may already be settled.”

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