It seems Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre wasn't walking a straight line ahead of his much-anticipated title defense against Nick Diaz last weekend (March 16, 2013) at UFC 158, according to the Stockton slugger's camp.
St. Pierre's head trainer at TriStar Gym, Firas Zahabi, says Team Diaz was overly concerned with the French-Canadian's hand wraps prior to the bout and were insisting on disrupting his warm-up routine in order to check and double-check them.
During his recent appearance on "The MMA Hour," Zahabi explained the locker room incident:
"I was outside when Mike Ricci was fighting. So, right when I came in, I saw Jake Shields waiting at the door, so I said hello to him. I didn't know what he was doing there, and when I walked into the room they were like ‘Hey, they're not letting us, they're interrupting the warm-up.' I was more than happy to let them check the hand wraps, more than happy. But they told me they already did, Jake had already come in and checked the hand wraps, so I said, 'You know what, not more than that, because it will never end.'"
According to Firas, he didn't want Shields checking the wraps over and over because then that would lead to checking up on the rest of "GSP's" gear.
For the trainer, he was more than willing to let Shields and Co. have all of St. Pierre's gear after the fight to have them sent to a laboratory for observations, he just didn't want his pupil's warm-up interrupted:
"Then it will be checking his cup. Then it will be checking his shorts, then, what else? We're warming up here, you don't have infinite time to warm up. We're going to go through a routine, it's not going to be interrupted, the commission came in and said ‘Please do check it again.' The referee came in and checked the gloves and I said ‘You know what, bring NASA, if someone from the NASA office is out there, bring them in and let them check, anybody who wants to check anything, you can have the hand wraps after the fight. You can have the gloves, send them to any laboratory. You want, bring VADA in here right after, before, during, whatever you want.' But, I don't want them to call the shots. I don't want them to tell me when we're warming up and when we're not warming up, we're not going to do that."
In 2009, former WBO and IBF welterweight boxing champion Antonio Margarito was suspended after his loss to Shane Mosley after it was discovered his corner man, Javier Capetillo, had indeed loaded his hand wraps in an effort to gain an advantage over "Sugar" because according to Capetillo, he knew "We shouldn't have taken the fight."
Ultimately, the trainer took full blame for the incident and revealed he had done it without the knowledge of Margarito. "El Tornado de Tijuana" went on to lose two of his next three fights to Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.
As of now, there have been no reports of any illegal hand wraps reported by the Quebec Athletic Commission in regards to 170-pound kingpin, St. Pierre.
What say you Maniacs, were all of these concerns and theories from the Diaz fight team attempts to simply get into "Rush's" head -- something Firas says might have been their main objective -- and distract him ahead of the title fight?
Diligent or belligerent?