Georges St-Pierre might not currently be competing in the UFC, but he can certainly still throw jabs.
On Tuesday, the former welterweight champion said the UFC’s hesitancy towards stricter drug testing influenced his decision to walk away from the sport, and UFC chairman/CEO/co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta responded by saying he is disappointed by GSP’s comments.
“It was extremely disappointing to hear Georges make those comments because I don’t think any organization has embraced drug testing as we have,” Fertitta told Yahoo! Sports. “We have not only agreed to pay when the commission has said it wants to do enhanced testing, we’ve encouraged it. We have no problem with testing.”
Prior to his UFC 167 bout against Johny Hendricks last November, GSP signed up for Voluntary Anti-Doping Association drug screenings to go one step beyond standard testing and prove he’s a clean athlete; the Canadian had been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs several times in the past despite never failing a drug test.
GSP felt the organization never fully supported his endeavour and Dana White questioned GSP’s motives because the UFC president felt the mandatory Nevada State Athletic Commission testing was more than adequate.
“It bothered me greatly, it was one of the reasons I decided to step aside,” St-Pierre told The Canadian Press. “I tried to change things, and unfortunately, maybe for money reasons, maybe for image, they were not ready to do that “I tried to (bring about) change in a very diplomatic way and it didn’t work so it’s unfortunate, but I believe it will happen sooner or later.”
Fertitta added that he was “shocked” by GSP’s comments because the Saint-Isidore, Que., native made no mention of drug testing when he told the UFC he was vacating his title back in December.
“We’ve made it clear, through presentations at various athletic commissions, that we advocate for the most rigorous drug testing possible,” Fertitta told ESPN. “We’ve actually advocated for harsher penalties for PEDs. Maybe Georges didn’t understand the level of drug testing Nevada was doing. They are the ultimate authority that handles drug testing, medicals and everything else — and they are very capable.”
St-Pierre (25-2) is widely considered one of the best mixed martial artists of all-time and was the UFC’s top pay-per-view draw.
The 32-year-old has no immediate plans to return to the UFC but has not ruled out a comeback.