Did longtime welterweight king Georges St. Pierre exit the confines of the UFC spotlight because he was tired of the rigors of championship-hood and needed a break? Or was there another reason? The passage of time since GSP’s sudden and shocking announcement of semi-retirement has enabled the dust to settle a bit, and now more information is surfacing.
Take, for example, this article by Canadian site SportsNet, where St. Pierre outright says he left because of the UFC’s stance on drug testing:
St-Pierre said Tuesday a lack of strenuous drug testing was one of the factors that led to his decision to step away from the sport.
“It bothered me greatly, it was one of the reasons I decided to step aside,” St-Pierre said Tuesday.
Pre- and postfight drug testing, as we all know, is handled by the various athletic commissions where MMA events are held. But the UFC has its own internal policies regarding the issue. Did GSP feel those policies were strict enough?
The star fighter was prudent in his comments Tuesday, being careful not to point fingers at any one person or fighter. He stressed he wasn’t accusing anyone of steroid abuse.
St-Pierre said he wanted to bring the sport he loves to “another level” of testing and help those who are honest in the sport.
“I tried to change things, and unfortunately, maybe for money reasons, maybe for image, they were not ready to do that,” St-Pierre said. “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.”
If what St. Pierre is saying is true – that his departure was influenced by his employer’s policies on drug screening – then it begs the question: What did he think leaving would accomplish? To put it another way, how is GSP fixing things now that he’s on the outside looking in?
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports