Head Trainer Greg Jackson and George St. Pierre cornerman Phil Nurse have formally responded to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) in defense of a letter sent to the NSAC by BJ Penn earlier this month to address greasing allegations in their welterweight title fight at UFC 94 on January 31.
The response, available here courtesy of the LATimes.com, is in defense of a formal request (not a complaint) sent to the NSAC by the legal team that represents lightweight champion BJ Penn designed to ensure that the sanctioning body engages "in a comprehensive investigation and review of the activities involving and relating to Georges St. Pierre prior to and during the bout."
St. Pierre’s cornermen during the fight applied Vaseline to his back and shoulders, which caught the eye of ringside officials when they noticed the petroleum jelly on the backside of the Canadian and sprung into action, wiping him down with towels after rounds two and three.
"Rush" hasn't given any excuses for the incident, saying it was just a minor mistake caused by the between-round frenzy and was part of a breathing technique. UFC President Dana White — who's been taking the issue very seriously — has since blamed "stupid" cornermen (Greg Jackson and Phil Nurse) for the infraction.
The Penn letter to the NSAC indicated that not only is greasing illegal, but it taints the reputation of the sport and jeopardizes the health and safety of those who participate in it.
Furthermore, it states the application of Vaseline put Penn at a serious disadvantage during the fight because as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, "The Prodigy" relies on his ability to apply techniques and strategies designed to immobilize or cause potential injury to his opponent.
With that ability neutralized, Penn’s attorney contends that his client was put in an environment that was both "life threatening" and "career ending."
Perhaps the most damaging part of the letter was the accusation that a member from Team Penn had asked the NSAC prior to the bout to pay special attention to St. Pierre because of the possibility of Team GSP engaging in activities that would intentionally make him more slippery.
Today's response from the St. Pierre camp vehemently denies those allegations and goes so far as to blame the entire "Grease Gate" charade on Penn's bruised ego following a fight in which he was clearly dominated.
Here's a snip:
"We believe strongly that we have done nothing to violate Nevada State Athletic Commission rules or to otherwise impugn the outcome of UFC 94, the integrity of the UFC or the sport and that the letter [of complaint by Penn] constitutes nothing more than Mr. Penn's desperate attempt to protect his reputation and commercial value after being totally dominated by a superior athlete."
Penn is expected to proceed with a formal complaint in the coming days and the NSAC will have to weigh both sides to determine what disciplinary action should be taken -- if any.
Sorry folks, this one isn't over. Not by a long shot.