Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre left his long-held title and status as greatest 170-pounder alive behind earlier this year. The move sent shockwaves through the sport of MMA, as did his reasoning behind the vacation of the strap. GSP has said multiple times that the lack of firm drug testing in combat sports was a big factor in his semi-retirement.
Things have got better in the time since late 2013 when “Rush” beat Johny Hendricks by a controversial split decision at UFC 167, but St-Pierre still is unhappy with the state of play. Speaking with Bloodyelbow.com, the former champion syas that WADA testing is the only way forward:
“I will never fight again in MMA without my opponent and myself being thoroughly tested for the most advanced PEDs by a credible independent anti-doping organization like VADA or USADA under the strictest standards of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) Code.”
The anti-doping agencies would be a huge move forward for the sport of MMA, but the only negatives are reaching the fighters when away at training camps, and the overall cost of the WADA doping tests. Truth be told, the UFC isn’t going to shell out $10K for every fighter, every time they are booked in for a fight. Neither, I would point out, are any of the sub-paid athletes.
Talking of low pay/working conditions, “Rush” moves on to the subject of a fighter union:
“I’m not aware of any professional athlete union that did not improve the working conditions and increase the paychecks of its members. I believe it will come someday in MMA, not because things are bad right now but because it’s just part of the normal evolution of all major sports. I’m not a “politician” and people know that I’m not a confrontational person or someone who likes to be in front, so it would be hard for me to lead that kind of initiative. But I will never be against something that is good for the fighters.”
Perhaps St-Pierre is using his absence as a bargaining chip to help improve conditions for MMA fighters, but will it work out that way? The TRT ban was a big step in the right direction, but there have been multiple steroid busts in the time since. The debate is seemingly endless, but I’d hazard a guess that GSP’s career is over based on the above ultimatum.
Outer image courtesy of USA Today Sports