Tuesday afternoon, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre made headlines after revealing that the UFC's lack of support for enhanced drug testing played a big role in his decision to step away from fighting. GSP said the lack of support "bothered me enormously." He also said the UFC "monopoly" created an environment where "(fighters) can't really talk because if one says what he thinks, he will get punished."
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta was the first to respond to GSP's comments. He said he was both "shocked" and "extremely disappointed" in the sentiment presented by St-Pierre. On Fox Sports Live following UFC Fight Night 35, UFC president Dana White gave his reaction to Georges:
"I knew somebody was going to ask that one before we got through with this press conference... First of all, I don't know if anybody remembers this, but Georges St-Pierre is the one who said he wanted to do the extra drug testing because he wanted to prove that he wasn't on drugs. It wasn't that he thought that Johny Hendricks was on steroids or performance enhancing drugs of any kind, he wanted to do this. And just like you see in boxing - you know when I said I thought it was ridiculous for these guys be doing - you see it in boxing all the time, one guy comes out and says 'I want to do extra drug testing because I'm worried about this guy...' They never come to an agreement. This guy says 'I want to use this one,' this guy says 'I want to use that one.' The Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to test them... They drug test. Not only did they drug test Josh Barnett for his last fight cause Josh Barnett was a guy who had been busted for performance enhancing drugs before, they also made Travis Browne do it too at the same time. And the UFC paid for that. We paid for that drug testing.
"Also, for him to say that we're very lenient on drug testing, when we go out of the country and we regulate ourselves, we test everybody on the card. Not just the main event, and not just the co-main event. And you want to talk about being lenient, the fight that I was screaming about, yelling about that it was the greatest fight I'd ever seen, Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva, we tested the guys for that fight, we caught Bigfoot Silva, and he got destroyed. Literally got destroyed for testing over the limit... What he did was, Vitor Belfort, Bigfoot Silva, any of these other guys that are on TRT, we test them throughout their whole camp. He did his last test the week of the fight, his numbers were fine. He took a shot after he got tested, so we tested him again after, and his numbers were through the roof, and he got destroyed. Lost the win money that we gave him, lost the bonus money that we gave him, and obviously he's not getting an extra bonus. The guy got smashed, and he's suspended for a year. If that's lenient on drugs, then I guess we're lenient then. I don't even know what to say to it.
"What I heard is Georges St-Pierre is upset about some of the things that I said at the press conference, and he's upset that I said that he didn't win the fight, that I thought Johny Hendricks won the fight. If that's the case, call me man to man, let's talk on the phone, let's sit down face to face. I talked to him after the fight face to face, he didn't say any of that to me. So the whole thing is a little weird.
As far as the other thing he said, that we're a monopoly. Viacom is our competitor. They have a $40 billion dollar market camp. I'm never going to see $40 billion dollars as long as I live, neither will the UFC, so we're not a monopoly either. Everything that Georges St-Pierre said is a little kooky.
That's the other thing too... Lorenzo reached out to him, Lorenzo still hasn't heard from him yet. If Georges St-Pierre wants to talk like a man, he can pick up the phone and call us or come see us face to face. But everything that he said is ridiculous.
"One more thing about Georges St-Pierre while I'm standing up here. Georges St-Pierre, it upset him his whole career about B.J. and other fighters claiming that he was probably on some type of performance enhancing drugs, then he goes out and says something like he said the other day, which then he says it now about all the guys who fought here tonight and other guys who fight in the UFC. If you are using performance enhancing drugs in the UFC, I mean these guys get caught. You get caught when you do it. Maybe you're slick and maybe you made it past a couple of [events]. For instance, maybe you fought in one of these athletic commissions where they'll only test the main event, or they'll only test the co-main and main event. But then you show up at one of these international shows where people don't realize we're testing the entire card, from the first prelim to the main event. Everybody's getting tested. You're gonna get caught if you're using it. The thing that's bothered him and upset him his whole career, he now just threw back on all the other guys that are fighting, which is unfair to the guys who aren't using anything. And as far as TRT goes, TRT is a hot topic with a lot of people, including myself. It's legal, you can do it, but it has to be monitored, and believe me when I tell you, we monitor the shit out of people. We monitor guys. And I told you guys about Vitor Belfort that we would be all over him and we have been all over him, and he has always been within his limits.
"If Georges felt that way, he should have said it. He should have said it to our faces, or to my face. I'm not very sensitive, you're not going to hurt my feelings. I'm not always gonna say things that fans love and that fighters love, but I always give my opinion. I thought Johny Hendricks won the fight. That's my opinion as a fight fan and as a guy who sat there and watch the fight. I'm sorry if that hurts Georges' feelings, but that's how I saw it. Doesn't mean I don't like Georges, I've never said anything but good things about Georges his entire career.
Georges St-Pierre never said he wanted to go away, he said he needed some time off because he had all these personal issues going on in his life... so we said 'do your thing,' he vacates the title, we're having a title fight in Dallas now - tickets go on sale tomorrow - we left the guy alone, we're not asking him to do anything, we're letting him do his thing. Guy's out doing more interviews now than he did when he was fighting. Said he wanted to disappear for a while and go away. Well here we are, now we're talking about Georges St-Pierre, we're trying to get him on the phone, it's so weird."
In contrast to Fertitta's more diplomatic response, Dana expectedly came out more aggressive and attempted to turn the tables on GSP here. Without speculating too much on GSP's intentions, that tactic could end up provoking a respected voice to continue a negative ad campaign against the top promotion in MMA.
Here's Luke Thomas with his take on the GSP vs UFC situation: