Georges St-Pierre may wind up returning to the UFC, but he said this past week that he would have been back already were it not for the events leading up to his exit in the first place.
St-Pierre’s most recent bout came at UFC 167 in November of 2013 in an ultimately close and controversial decision over Johny Hendricks. Prior to that fight, St-Pierre had attempted to get both he and Hendricks on a program through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) for drug testing into the fight, and there was a big push back at the time from Hendricks and the UFC themselves. They wound up not going through a more comprehensive drug screening into the bout, and after St-Pierre edged a decision, he said in the cage that he was looking for time away.
UFC President Dana White then exploded on St-Pierre in one of the most unprofessional tirades of his tenure, and St-Pierre says that, along with what happened with VADA, is what necessitated his self-imposed hiatus.
“The truth is if this whole thing had not happened after the fight, they would not have given trouble to the VADA testing that I did, and if they would not have acted like that, maybe I would have already been back or maybe I would have given the rematch to Johny Hendricks,” St-Pierre admitted in an appearance on Chael Sonnen’s “You’re Welcome” podcast (transcribed by FoxSports.com). “But because of that I was all burned out, angry, I was frustrated and a lot of things. I needed to let go because I didn’t have fun fighting and I lost the fun and that’s one of the reasons I stopped, you know?”
It wasn’t just White’s tirade that played into it, either, as St-Pierre says the UFC attempted to keep him from the post-fight press conference that night as well. Indeed, they had announced initially that St-Pierre was on his way to the hospital and weren’t going to have him take questions, but he made sure to make it there anyway.
“After I’m done with the doctor, I wanted to go to the press conference so the girl from the UFC says ‘no Georges, you’re not going to the press conference’ and I’m like ‘why?’ and ‘you’re not allowed to go it’s Ok’ and I’m like then I understand, I’m like there’s something weird going on,” St-Pierre said. “I said Ok I’m going and she’s like ‘no, you’re not allowed to go!’ and I said ‘yeah, try to stop me.’ Then I walk in and I saw that everybody looked weird when I arrived and then I found out Dana said I was going to the hospital and I was badly hurt so I was like ‘what is wrong with this?’ Because I didn’t know what was going on. I understand Dana was pissed because I was leaving with the belt, I got it, but he could have done it in a little better class.
“… Dana does what will serve him best. To serve him best in that situation was he doesn’t like when people leave with the belt and I understand, business wise it’s not good. Dana does what is good for his own interests and I do what is best for my own interests.”
St-Pierre’s boxing coach Freddie Roach has been saying as of late that St-Pierre will be conducting a test camp to decide whether or not to return, and though St-Pierre admits he has discussed it with Roach, he was also still non-committal on actually going through that. Still, if he winds up deciding to step back in the cage, he says it’s not going to be for a one-off.
“If I ever plan [on] coming back, I’m not going to come back for maybe one fight,” St-Pierre said. “I’m still young and I’m still in great shape, I feel better than I’ve ever been. If I come back, I’ll come back maybe for a few [fights] and not come back for just one.”
Penick’s Analysis: White’s comments about St-Pierre the night of UFC 167 were unbelievable, even for him. It was an unacceptable tear down of one of the biggest stars in company history. It’s obvious that the handling of St-Pierre’s drug testing concerns – especially when Hendricks wound up not getting tested and gave St-Pierre his toughest fight in years – along with White’s actions and comments afterward played a huge part in St-Pierre’s exit. It’s been obvious for a long time, though White’s tried to deflect it to different causes, and St-Pierre himself hasn’t come out and said it like he did here. I think he may feel he has unfinished business in his competitive career, and that could bring him back, but there’s no question that a lot of the blame for St-Pierre wanting to take a break in the first place lies on White and the UFC.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]