Trainers Speak Out on St. Pierre Greasing Controversy

BJ Penn’s trainer Rudy Valentino to InsideFighting (via Fightlinker):

“To cheat to win is not honorable…Why need another edge? Our gameplan was on the ground, not striking because we knew Georges had good kicks. We planned to work off the back…[St. Pierre] was the better man but don’t cheat to win…

We just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again to someone else. It is not good for the sport. For their camp to be busted doing something bad like that, and then to keep doing it after the referee had warned them…I respect Greg Jackson but to do something like that, his integrity has been compromised.

[Greg Jackson] came to me and apologized for it, but to do it and then apologize after is a bit half hearted…[Penn’s] legs slid right off because of the grease on his head and back. I’m not trying to make excuses for BJ’s loss…he took a lot of hits and St. Pierre was the better man that night but the extra cheating is bad for the sport.”

St. Pierre’s trainer Greg Jackson claims the back-greasing was completely unintentional, and was actually the result of another bizarre Jackson camp ritual. As he told MMA Weekly:

“In between rounds, [team St. Pierre “witch doctor” Steven Friend] had this little drill that you do — and Phil Nurse is the one who knows how to do it —he showed Phil, and this is what Georges wanted, so we did that…He rubbed your back and tapped your chest; I don’t know exactly how it works. But anyways, what that’s supposed to do is get your energy in line, or motivated or whatever. So in between rounds, we had Phil Nurse do that.

The controversy came because Phil Nurse also was putting Vasoline on Georges’ eyebrows. In between rounds, you always want to put on Vasoline on (a fighter’s face). So Phil Nurse put all the Vasoline on his face, so his hands might have had a miniscule amount left over from that, when he went around the side and rubbed a little point on his back, and tapped on his chest.

At that point, somebody in the audience thought we were greasing George down, and ran over and told the commission that we were greasing his body down. The commission came in and said ‘you can’t grease him down’…and Phil’s like, ‘oh, there might be a little on my fingers,’ but it wasn’t intentional at all, and of course they wiped it right off and it was gone, so it wasn’t a factor in the fight at all…

If we were trying to grease the back we’d be greasing up and down, we would make it count. We wouldn’t do a little tiny spot in the back. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense, so they were fine with it once we gave our explanation. It wasn’t like we were taking gobs of Vasoline and slathering on his back…

The whole greasing thing is pretty ridiculous. You can’t grease somebody up. You just couldn’t do it. They check your body before you get into the cage, there’s an inspector right there. In order for us to grease him up, it would be insane. There are cameras everywhere. We don’t cheat. We don’t need to cheat to win.”