("I don’t care if it tastes good. I distinctly told you Blueberry Freeze. Danaher told me Rasberry Rush will make me go bald." Photo credit Brian D’Souza.)
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre today made the second major change to his professional entourage in the past few months.
After amicably splitting from longtime strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Chaimberg prior to his UFC 124 bout with Josh Koscheck in December, St-Pierre announced today that he is moving on from his relationship with manager Shari Spencer and will be announcing new representation soon.
In a joint press release issued today by the French Canadian fighter and his now former manager, the pair explained that they "had a different vision for the future of Georges’ career and it was best to remain close personally but dissolve their business relationship." Spencer, who also manages UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar has represented St-Pierre since 2007.
Sources tell Cage Potato that St-Pierre’s split with Chaimberg, although an amicable one, was allegedly due to similar differences of opinion the two shared regarding the unorganized direction St-Pierre’s training was taking.
Apparently St-Pierre’s penchant for mixing up his training with whatever his current interest of the moment is became too much of a conflict with the set regimen Chaimberg had meticulously crafted for him since they began working together in 2007 after his shocking loss to Matt Serra. St-Pierre also parted ways with his longtime manager Stephane Patry and left Brazilian Top Team Canada in the wake of the Serra fight, but it seems odd that he would break up the successful team he assembled that helped him get to the point he is at in his career, especially considering he isn’t coming off of a loss.
Whether it’s a case of St-Pierre becoming bored with training or his desire to be the most well-rounded fighter in the world, it seems that "Rush" has recently begun impulsively flip-flopping between trainers and methods and has a tendency to employ the discipline that is the current "flavor of the week" in his bouts.
Prior to the fight with Koscheck he began doing in gymnastics and Olympic power lifting and spent a handful of days training with New York-based trainer Eric Owings and acclaimed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. Despite spending the lion’s share of his S&C and boxing training time the past few years with Chaimberg and Canadian boxing greats-turned-trainers Howard and Otis Grant, St-Pierre chose to release a P90X-type workout series with Owings and asked Roach to help corner him against Koscheck.
As has become the trend, St-Pierre relied almost solely on the discipline and technique he had focused on the most in training and utilized his boxing — namely his jab — to beat Koscheck.
One explanation for Georges’ dramatic changes in training and personnel is the influence of jiu-jitsu coach John Danaher on not only his game plans for fights, and his training choices, but also on his life in general. The highly-regarded Renzo Gracie black belt instructor is a philosophy major who fancies himself somewhat of a pseudo life coach to the athletes he trains. It’s said that St-Pierre has accepted him as a guru and that the New Zealander has his ear on everything from what methods of training are best and whom he should train with (Owings is a student of Danaher’s) to which techniques to employ in his fights.
One source close to St-Pierre said that there is a growing concern that he is valuing Danaher’s typically jiu-jitsu-heavy game plans over coach Greg Jackson’s, whom many consider to be the top of the heap in that area.
The main reason that St-Pierre gave for cleaning house after being knocked out by Serra was that he didn’t realize until the loss that the "yes men" he had surrounded himself with weren’t helping him progress and he said that he brought in his core team of Jackson, Chaimberg and MMA coach Firas Zahabi to ensure that he was geting the best training possible.
If the reports we have been hearing are true, his relationship with Danaher might be leading him dangerously close to the slippery slope that ended with him on his back and unconscious on April 7, 2007.