One of the quiet, nagging criticisms that has followed Georges St. Pierre throughout his career is the belief that he may be using performance enhancing substances. When the recent Biogenesis scandal was revealed to encompass at least one notable (and still unnamed) MMA fighter, GSP was the first person on many lips. There are several reasons for this, most obvious is his chiseled physique and the lasting dominance it's brought him as the unchallenged king of the welterweight division. But it's also the willingness, both perceived and documented, to skirt the system; to bend the rules as far as he can to maintain a competitive edge.
Fans all remember "greasegate", where GSP's cornermen were seen rubbing Vaseline on his torso between rounds, but there's also the "GSP nut-punch" as our own Kid Nate likes to call it (referring to GSP's proclivity for landing at least a couple groin shots per fight). Most recently, he admitted that he came in .4 lbs overweight for his title fight against Nick Diaz, knowing full well that the athletic commission would round him down to 170. Nick Diaz, himself, gave voice to his concerns that GSP might be juicing in a pre-fight interview heading in to UFC 158.
"I believe that he's is on plenty of steroids, and I don't think they test around here either. I doubt I'll be tested as well. I don't care what they say to the fans or the media, I don't think we'll be tested. And if so, he's probably got a bottle of piss in his pocket."
None of this is hard evidence however. It's all speculation based on appearance and the theory that "there's no smoke without fire." And given sports' less than stellar history of drug enforcement, these allegations are easy to question, but hard to dismiss entirely. Perhaps that's why, as MMA Fighting reports, GSP has made the move to pay out of pocket for VADA testing. Not only for himself, but for Johny Hendricks as well in their upcoming bout at UFC 167.
"One reporter asked me if I would be willing to be tested. I said yes, I would be willing to be tested with VADA," St-Pierre told MMAFighting.com. "I believe that VADA is the best anti-doping agency in the world. And I'm willing to be tested. You cannot be against [it]."
"I'm ready to pay [for our testing] myself, because I'm the champion," St-Pierre said. "All from my purse, I paid for the tests because I'm the champion. That's why I'm ready, I'm ready to do it. That's a point I want to make.
"I wouldn't mind doing it for the rest of my career," he continued. "Of course it sucks. They can come anytime, you have to give your address and then [VADA representatives come] in the morning. It sucks. But it's my sport and it could be an inconvenience of my job, I'll do it no problem." (via MMA Fighting)
It's a good, strong move from a fighter who has always conducted the publicity side of his MMA career with ease. It's also a strong show of support for extra testing in a sport constantly at odds with allegations of steroid abuse and under-regulation. If more stars like St. Pierre are willing to continually make the effort, even at their own expense, to display that their fights are clean it could go a long way to building an image that the best athletes in MMA are steroid free. Of course if someone happens to fail a test it could have just the opposite effect, so lets hope that everyone makes it to UFC 167 in fighting and, most importantly, licensing condition.
UFC 167 takes place on November 16th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card will be headlined by Georges St. Pierre vs. Johnny Hendricks in the 9th defense of his welterweight title.
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