The coach of Georges St-Pierre is claiming that his fighter was not 100% entering a fight with Dan Hardy.
GSP’s coach, Firas Zahabi, told longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his MMA show earlier this week that a training partner dropped St-Pierre pretty badly during training, which resulted in GSP dealing with a concussion two weeks out from his UFC 111 title defense against Hardy in 2010.
Zahabi reflected on the moment and even went as far as admitting that he was close to ending that particular sparring session.
However, he went against that judgment due to him not wanting to hurt St-Pierre’s confidence. Thus, he made the decision to tell the training partner not to throw a punch in the final round.
“There was one more round (of sparring), and he said to me ‘Coach, let me finish the round, I’m okay. Let me finish the next round,’” Zahabi told Joe Rogan (transcript courtesy of Bloody Elbow). “And I felt that if I pulled it, I would’ve killed his confidence, totally. So I said ‘Okay, you could do the next round.”
“And I told the other guy he was sparring with, ‘Don’t land a single glove.’ I whispered it to him, ‘Not a single glove on him. Just take a mauling.’ And Georges went in that next round, not knowing that the other guy was not allowed to hit him at all.”
“The UFC was there filming,” Zahabi recalled. “So I had to go ‘Look, guys, that footage can never air. That footage has got to disappear.’ And they were like ‘Yeah, don’t worry, we understand the fight’s on the line.’ That’s why that fight, he was doing a lot of wrestling. We didn’t want to even chance – I was sure he had a concussion when he went in that fight.”
The former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion ended up defeating Hardy via unanimous decision, which at the time marked his fourth title defense since unifying the UFC welterweight title against Matt Serra.
“I just let the fighter decide now unless I really feel it’s urgent,” Zahabi explained. “Which is rare that I’ve had to actually intervene, because at the end of the day, when are you 100%? It rarely happens. There’s always something.”
“That left hook (from Hardy), if it would’ve touched Georges, Georges would’ve been out like a light,” he added. “He’s got a crazy left hook, plus, Georges was hurt two weeks before. Thank God it worked out well.”