Earlier this week, news broke that Johny Hendricks still hadn't submitted information to start Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) testing for his upcoming fight with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweigh
To make things appear even worse for the title contender, it came out that St. Pierre was willing to cover the cost for testing, an amount upward of $20,000.
Hendricks and St. Pierre are scheduled to fight later this year at UFC 167 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at MGM Grand Garden Arena, a bout sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
Bloody Elbow spoke with Hendricks' manager, Ted Ehrhardt, about Johny's unwillingness to submit to VADA testing. Apparently, there was a lot more to the story than originally released.
"GSP asked if we would drug test. He didn't say VADA or anything else at first, he just asked for drug testing and Johny said, 'Of course I'll drug test.' Then he said VADA, and then it came to us that VADA is giving the testing to him for free.'
"Somehow he (St-Pierre) has a relationship with VADA. I don't know to what degree, but that made us a little nervous and since we don't work for GSP, we work for the UFC, and we're fighting in Nevada, so they're the commission, we talked to both of them," Ehrhardt said.
According to Ehrhardt everyone agreed that WADA would be the way to go, but, "A week later, GSP's attorney asked 15 or 20 questions about how WADA is going to test for this and that, how are they going to move the tests, how are they going to do this, a ton of questions."
"He wanted to have predetermined times. It's not random if you know when they're coming. He had questions about what they test for, and that's another red flag. Why do you care what they test for, if you're clean, you're clean? We didn't ask one question," said Ehrhardt.
As far VADA testing goes, it's viewed as a controversial testing organization within the sports world, based on conversations this reporter has had with various industry sources. The alleged involvement of Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Labratory Co-operative (BALCO), sets off many red flags. He's the man responsible for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) hitting the market.
However, in a conversation with Ryan Connolly, VADA Director of Legal Affairs and Client Relations, he stated it has no relationship with Conte. This is in contrast to Conte's statements with the Examiner where he claimed he was one of the original minds behind the testing organization along with Dr. Margaret Goodman and Dr. Flip Hamonsky.
Dr. Margaret Goodman (former ringside physician and Medical Advisory Board Chairman for the Nevada State Athletic Commission), Dr. Flip Hamonsky (Former Nevada commissioner), I'm involved, and there's another very high profile anti-doping world renowned expert involved. We'll reveal who this is shortly, but he is one of the most credible people in the world of anti-doping," Conte told me.
The program is structured so that athletes can voluntarily submit themselves to Olympic-style random drug testing which will be paid for by sponsors to alleviate worries about cost for fighters willing to step forward to show their desire to clean up the sport of boxing. "It's called VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency).
And this isn't the first time that there were issues with St. Pierre's camp regarding additional testing.
When Carlos Condit fought for the Welterweight belt, St. Pierre wanted VADA testing. Condit's camp publicly and privately came back with a request for testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a far more reputable testing organization. The USADA falls under WADA, and handles testing for the United States Olympic teams.
Condit and his management's requests fell on deaf ears at they never received a response back from St. Pierre.
Condit's publicist, John Fuller, spoke with Fighters.com about it leading up to the fight.
"Carlos is obviously interested in upholding the integrity of the sport. He would be more than interested to submit to testing, but we'd prefer to do it via the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) because we feel they are the most reputable drug testing organization in the world."
While I am in favor of additional testing beyond what the athletic commission require of competitors, if you aren't willing to be tested by the most reputable organizations, it's essentially just doing something for the publicity. When Hendrick's manager says that St. Pierre wanted to know the dates of the test, that's a huge red flag.
If you're clean, you're clean. It doesn't matter when they show up or how they transport the samples. It shouldn't matter which lab handles the testing. GSP may be the best welterweight fighter to ever grace the Octagon, but when his camp is saying 'VADA or bust!' it creates doubt.
And doubt is what will start to change public perception. It may be time for St. Pierre's camp to consider either dropping the subject of additional testing or submit to the most reputable of organizations.