Georges St. Pierre is the world’s most famous competitor in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has been one of the men to carry the company since winning his first Welterweight Championship in 2004. He’s the company’s most consistent and reliable pay-per-view star.
After defending his Welterweight Championship in November, St. Pierre decided to take some time away from the sport. Why is that? While he refused to name anyone, he has said that he “knows what’s going on” re: doping and drug testing within the promotion. Apparently, the UFC has been hesitant on stiffening up their drug testing policies.
By: Adam Pyde – @Adam_Pyde
“I’m not angry, but disappointed,” St. Pierre told French reporters on Tuesday. “It bothered me a lot. This is one of the reasons why I stopped (fighting). This is not really to serve a lesson to anyone, because it penalizes me too.”
He continued. “And whether or not you believe me, I have never taken drugs in my life. I am willing to take a lie detector, I do not care. I’m all for drug testing.”
Upon some further questioning, he confirmed that the UFC was not supportive of him when he proposed drug testing in the weeks leading up to his title defence fight against Johnny Hendricks on November 16.
St. Pierre revealed that the UFC’s doping tests of Johnny Hendricks were botched prior to UFC 167 and their title fight, which St. Pierre won by a controversial split decision.
He was very careful though not to accuse his opponent or anyone else though. He said “I’m not accusing anyone of taking steroids and I’m not judging anyone. I have internal information. I am an athlete and I know what’s going on.”
This is interesting information to become public, especially from the UFC’s premier star. It is not like this is a mid or under card fighter bitter about his position. Any time a sport has the legitimacy of its competition being questioned, especially by those with inside knowledge and relationships, it is a serious issue.
Part of the appeal to many fans is that UFC has been perceived as a very clean and honest sport. Modern gladiators entering a ring to see who is best. No predetermined outcomes like professional wrestling; less strange decisions from judges like boxing; and generally free of the performance enhancing drugs found in baseball and American football.
If the UFC is beginning to slack on its drug testing this could seriously hurt the appeal to many of the fans in the long run. If a fighter wins a big upset, did he do it because he’s talented or was he taking PHDs? This could affect pay-per-view buy rates, which have already been slipping, as well as all other money-making aspects of the promotion. It is an issue that has hurt the appeal of the Tour de France over the last decade.
Another way to see this is as a star passing his prime making excuses. There is no doubt that his latest win was one of his less-convincing in his career and at 32, fighting since 2004 in the UFC, there are a lot of miles and punches on his body. Athletes are proud people and often try to find outside reasons why they may not be as good as they once were.
As of the moment, UFC has yet to respond with an official statement.
Source: Globe And Mail