This past week, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre made some (UFC) politically incorrect remarks, when he let loose in a (Montreal) media scrum that the promotion’s lack of support for his (GSP’s) stance on voluntary drug testing, had played a significant role in his decision to vacate his belt and leave the sport.
Today, in a conferenced media call for Bellator’s February 28th 110 card, Rampage Jackson vs. Christian M’Pumbu, BMMA CEO Bjorn Rebney, was asked if he had an opinion on the current rift between GSP and the UFC, regarding the former champs (negative) remarks about the brand’s lack of support for “Rush’s” (pre UFC 167) anti-doping stance.
To it, Rebney affirmed in the positive and subsequently began to sing the praises of Georges St. Pierre, while at the same time haranguing the senior circuit (UFC President Dana White) for their (his) “tasteless comments” regarding the former welterweight champion.
In full comment, Rebney remarked as follows:
“I do have an opinion. The UFC has set the bar pretty high in terms of tasteless comments. The recent comments on Georges St-Pierre are some of the most tasteless comments they’ve made in some time. I look at Georges St-Pierre as one of the most honorable champions our sport has ever seen. I don’t think Georges St-Pierre owes us as fans anything. I don’t think he owes the UFC anything. He’s given us fans and the organization he’s fought for, he’s given everything. We should be thankful we’ve had a guy like that fight in the last ten years. A lot of his points are good points. He’s been a de facto ambassador for our sport and I put a lot of credence and credibility in what he’s been saying.”
Of it, fans are apt to deduce that Rebney is merely seizing upon easy pickings and throwing back some of the mud that the UFC (Dana White) has thrown his way, over the years; all minus any expletives.
However, if fans pick through the detail of his remarks they’ll notice that they’re heavy on flattery and light on substance. Nowhere in his comments does Rebney endorse or call for an implementation of St. Pierre’s stance, nor does he lend any support to it. He simply praises what he knows to be a fan favorite and Canadian icon, while taking some easy jabs at his competitor.
More importantly, Rebney is, for all intents and purposes and by reading between the lines, insinuating that Bellator doesn’t have any performance enhancing drug issues with its fighters. In essence, he’s claiming BMMA’s hands are clean on this subject. To that, many fans might balk. The deduction being, that if it’s a problem in the UFC, then it’s likely to be a problem in Bellator, the WSOF and any other organization that could be mentioned.
Rebney is a very smart man, a great CEO, savvy marketer and knows his MMA. As such, he should be wise enough to appreciate that fans aren’t so naïve as to believe that the UFC is the only promotion that suffers non-sanctioned or illegal PED use, and subsequent to that acknowledgement, he should simply stay away from the issue. That is, of course, unless he’s prepared to have an honest discussion about PED usage within his own promotion. More to the point, most fans would probably suggest that he stay away from the subject until he’s prepared to do something about it.