Despite Lorenzo Fertitta’s initial measured response to Georges St.Pierre’s public criticism of the UFC earlier this week it was inevitable that Dana White would turn up the heat when he was asked about the situation, and that’s exactly what happened at last night’s ‘UFC Fight Night 35’ post-fight press conference.
St.Pierre had claimed in an interview with the media in Canada that one of the reasons he had taken a hiatus from the sport was due to the fact that he was unhappy with the level of drug testing in the UFC.
White appears to think GSP is misinformed, pointing out that they are regulated by the government when it comes to drug-testing, and on top of that they do their own testing. For instance he notes that they paid money out of their own pocket to heavily test Josh Barnett and his opponent Travis Browne prior to their recent fight due to the fact that Barnett had been caught using steroids in the past.
He also cites the Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva fight as another example, with Silva being monitored closely since he had a TRT exemption, which resulted in them catching him with elevated levels and handing him a years suspension amongst other punishments.
“If that’s lenient on drugs, I guess we’re lenient then,” White says wryly.
Interestingly, White believes that the drug-testing issue is just a smokescreen and isn’t the real reason St.Pierre is unhappy with the UFC.
“What I heard is, Georges St-Pierre is upset with some of the things I said at the [UFC 167] press conference and he’s upset that I said I thought he didn’t win the fight, that I thought Johny Hendricks won the fight. But 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.”
GSP had also ascerted his belief that the UFC are currently running a monopoly which means that fighters are scared to speak up about these issues, but White points to the Viacaom run Bellator organization as proof that is not the case.
“Viacom is our competitor,” White said. “They have a $40 billion market cap. I’m never going to see $40 billion as long as I live. So we’re not a monopoly either. Everything that Georges St-Pierre said is a little kooky.””
Overall, White appears to be baffled as to why GSP is still doing interviews given that he had publically stated when he vacated his title that he wanted to take time out to take care of his personal issues.
“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.’ So he vacates the title, we’ve left the guy alone, letting him do his thing. The guy’s out doing more interviews now than when he was fighting. He said he wanted to disappear for a while and go away, and here we are, now we’re talking about Georges St-Pierre.”
White also stated that Fertitta had tried to reach out to GSP to talk through his issues with them, but that so far the long-time welterweight champion had not returned his calls.
So, unfortunately this situation appears to be going quickly downhill and the relationship between the UFC and GSP, which on the surface had always appeared to be relatively good, is now beginning to crack.
Hopefully this doesn’t spiral to far out of control and they can resolve their differences so that this doesn’t turn out to be another case of a major falling out like we’ve seen with a few other ‘legends’ like Frank Shamrock and Randy Couture in years gone by, particularly since at this stage everyone still has high hopes that St.Pierre will eventually return to the Octagon and continue his career at some stage in the future.