(Skip to 2:25 for the start of the VADA conversation..)
UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has been accused of steroid use more times than any other fighter who’s never failed a drug test. BJ Penn first painted him as a cheater in 2009, saying that St. Pierre “doesn’t play by the rules when it comes to steroids and growth hormones and that stuff,” and pointed to his physique as proof. (“He looks like that every day…The rest of us, we get fat, then we train and get skinny and the cycle goes over and over again. He looks the same way all the time. Come on.”)
The following year, Josh Koscheck passed along some “hearsay information” supporting the GSP/steroid rumors, calling for Olympic style drug testing for his upcoming fight against St. Pierre. And earlier this year, we saw noted conspiracy theorist Nick Diaz implying that not only was GSP on steroids, but the UFC knows about it and is cool with it.
So for once, St. Pierre is going to beat these jackasses to the punch. In a new interview with Sportsnet’s Joe Ferraro, St. Pierre invited his UFC 167 opponent Johny Hendricks to subscribe to pre-fight drug-testing with him through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which would provide random, unannounced testing during the eight weeks before their fight. Here’s what St. Pierre had to say:
“I believe the sport has a problem now. When I first started fighting in mixed martial arts, it didn’t have any money. So, now more money got involved, more ways are there to be cheating to take a shortcut and I believe VADA testing I’m up for it and I invite my opponent to do the VADA testing for the championship fight.
I invite if possible all the high-profile athletes in the UFC to do the same. I believe it’s a good thing. It’s a bit of a pain in the butt sometimes but I believe to make the sport (better)…I’m ready to do it to set a good example.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because BJ Penn pulled this exact same move before his fight against GSP’s protege Rory MacDonald, implying that the sport (and by extension, his opponent) was dirty, and that it was up to him — MMA’s Last Honest Man — to do something about it.
When Penn did it, it seemed like a cross between self-promotion and preparing an excuse in advance. For St. Pierre, it has a different tenor. This is not about hype — it’s about taking control of the common narrative (among his opponents, at least) that he’s a drug-cheat.
Will VADA-testing actually come to pass for his title-defense against Hendricks? Probably not. UFC president Dana White has bristled in the past when his fighters bring up the idea of additional drug testing for their fights, claiming that drug-testing should only be the responsibility of the athletic commissions. (“When fighters start talking about other guys being drug tested? Shut up. Worry about you.”) But hopefully this will prevent GSP’s future opponents from dragging out the same unfounded attacks about St. Pierre and PEDs. And just in case Johny Hendricks was planning to do the same thing? Well, he can’t now. In fact, he has to say that he’d be down with VADA testing too*, or else he looks suspicious.
Of course, if you’re a Nick Diaz/BJ Penn nuthugger, you probably think that the UFC has already paid off VADA to falsify any drug-test results that GSP might submit in the future, in order to help their golden-boy PPV king keep winning fights and maintain his year-round six-pack. I can’t help you guys. The truth is out there.
* Update: And he has. “Heck ya!” Hendricks told UFC Central Radio on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “The worst thing that they’re going to find is a little bit of protein in my diet. If eating wild hogs and organic deer meat and a little bit of glutamine is bad for the ol’ system then I might fail…It doesn’t matter. Today, tomorrow, three months from now, I’ll gladly take a test for anything.”