In response to allegations of gamesmanship by Johny Hendricks, regarding GSP’s stance on drug testing prior to the duos November 16th title fight, St. Pierre’s long-time coach and trainer Firas Zahabi, has taken to Twitter to set the record straight.
As it all started out a couple of months back, the welterweight champion made a request of his UFC 167 opponent that the two would submit to voluntary drug testing, in the lead-up to their bout. The testing body of choice that GSP suggested was that of VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency and Rush even offered to pay for it; a fee that can run as high as 20K.
Hendricks seemed prepared to go along with the idea, however, before any testing began it came to his attention that Rush has a business relationship with VADA, something Hendricks referred to as “close” and he subsequently backed-off the proposal.
In its place, “Bigg Rigg” suggested using the NSAC & UFC approved WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, as the body of choice for the testing.
Hendricks’s stated reason for preferring WADA “100%”over VADA was / is partly due to the fact that GSP said he’d be paying for the testing out of his own pocket, when in actuality, it appears that Rush was going to be getting the testing for free.
However and in an effort to set the record straight, Zahabi is now stating or clarifying GSP’s position on the matter and is calling for both the WADA and VADA tests, to be administered. He also stated that Rush does not have a close relationship with VADA, however, that’s short of saying there’s no relationship, which by default, becomes the understanding; that there is a relationship. Further, Zahabi Tweets failed to address the nexus issue of GSP's non-disclosure of any free testing he has been offered or given; if indeed, there actually was any free testing offered or given.
For my part, I don’t believe either is on any performance enhancing drugs or that either is going to fail any tests for it. If I had any criticisms of this whole venture, they would be as follows:
First, Rush was foolish for going down this road in the first place and his call for voluntary drug testing of all fighters, beginning with himself and this match, seems to be more about increasing VADA’s business than anything else. If that were to prove to be the case, that GSP had some backroom deal by which he is being paid to promote testing, then he should be / have been upfront about it. It would also explain why the champ is so keen on VADA and although willing to submit to WADA testing as well, still wants the VADA testing done, too.
Second, in terms of what Hendricks is suggesting, which is a conspiracy between GSP and VADA to somehow throw the fight in Rush’s favor, I find that very tough to believe. The logic of it fails on too many levels as to be taken seriously.
As Bigg Rigg put it on Monday’s edition of the “MMA Hour”:
“I'm not willing to say, you know what GSP, you might be correct, they may not be shady, they might do it 100 percent correct, but you're talking about, I beat GSP that's millions of dollars. If I do this drug test, and they do something to where I don't get it, now it might cost me millions of dollars, I'm not willing to risk that for GSP just to sit here and push VADA."
To me, that sounds like a lot of paranoia and something that flies in the face of his contention, that “I know I'm clean. I can pass any drug test given to me at any point at any time… I know I'm never going to fail a drug test.”
If that’s the case and its St. Pierre’s assertion as well, then there should be no problem with either fighter taking either test, and this whole debacle is nothing more than a tempest-in-a-teapot and a distraction from the real issue at hand, which is simply fighting.
@RD_Bruiser Just for the record our camp does not have a "close relationship" with Vada. Let's do every test under the sun! No math Qs plz— Firas Zahabi (@Firas_Zahabi) September 8, 2013
@LiverKickdotcom VADA & NSAC are both good but also have their pros and cons. Let's do both test and make everyone happy. This is the plan.— Firas Zahabi (@Firas_Zahabi) September 8, 2013