Georges St. Pierre has finally let the rest of the world in on why he abruptly took a leave of absence and vacated his belt to take some time off. He believes there should be more advanced drug testing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC.) A month prior to his fight with Johny Hendricks, St. Pierre was pushing for advanced, randomized drug testing from the World Anti-Doping Agency. Hendricks agreed, but then decided against the testing and publicly criticized St. Pierre for it.
George St. Pierre has been the Welterweight Champion since 2007, with 12 straight title defenses. He has been one of the biggest pay per view draws for the UFC, especially up north in his home country of Canada. Georges has arguably been the face of the UFC for a long time.
When he expressed the opinion that the drug testing should be improved, St. Pierre felt the UFC didn’t give its full support to the cause. He felt the Championship did not have the defending champion’s interests in mind at all. UFC President,Dana White, has just recently made a statement that he has not spoken with George about the issue, and feels the whole situation is weird.
Georges St. Pierre remains undecided about his return to the octagon, and has not discussed future plans with anyone from the UFC organization. He has stated, however, that he will not make the advanced drug testing a point of stipulation for his return. The UFC CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta, was concerned about the statements from the former champion, and says he fully supports the testing before and after fights.
He pointed out that the UFC had advanced testing for the Josh Barnett vs Travis Browne contest at UFC 168 in Las Vegas. He feels there might have been a communication barrier between he and the champ and would fully embrace the stance on testing if the fighting commission requested it. Fertitta thinks Georges’ camp didn’t fully communicate all the details of his concerns leading up to his last fight with Johny, which Georges St. Pierre ended up winning.
Drug testing, and cheating in general, has always been a touchy subject with Georges St. Pierre. After his last win over B.J. Penn in 2009, Penn accused the champ of greasing. Just recently, in 2013, Nick Diaz made some critical comments of St. Pierre saying there was a possibility St. Pierre was taking something prior to the fight. These accusations may be the reason why George St. Pierre would aggressively pursue advanced drug testing. His stance is that he is tired of being accused. He has publicly stated that he just wants to have a clean sport.
There have been multiple occurrences in the recent years of fighters failing drug tests and using performance enhancers. Some are now getting Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT,) which some believe conveys a competitive advantage similar to steroids.
With the number of subscriptions going up, and failed tests coming back, the UFC would likely encourage fighters to take a stand and try to clean up their profession. It would make an impact coming from one considered the “face” of the Championship. Based on his recent comments, Georges St. Pierre might not plan on coming back from his extended absence until the UFC makes a few changes, a different drug testing policy being one of them.
by Justin Huffman