Georges St-Pierre keeps on resurfacing in the media despite his premature break from mixed martial arts (MMA). And until we learn more about the "personal issues" that were "driving him crazy," this window into his quasi-retirement might be the most significant news yet regarding the reasons behind his untimely departure from the sport.
It seems that the former Welterweight champion is still bothered to this day about the whole drug testing debacle that he and title challenger Johny Hendricks had to endure months before their main event championship fight at UFC 167. In fact, he is extremely disappointed with the promotion because it did not back its long-reigning champion in his effort to clean up the sport.
In a media scrum that took place in St. Pierre's province of birth earlier this today, which can be seen on RDS's (Reseau des Sports) website (a sports channel in Quebec, Canada), St. Pierre expressed his frustration (in French, translated by Ariel Helwani) to the media:
"It bothered me enormously. That's one of the reasons why I stopped fighting. Not really to teach them a lesson, because that would also punish me. I wanted to do something for the sport. I love the sport. I see the direction it's going, and I don't think it makes any sense. This is stupid."
If you recall, Hendricks had an issue with St-Pierre using the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) because "Rush" was the "poster boy" for the association and felt because he was not guaranteed the results would be accurate. St. Pierre even offered to pay Hendricks' tab if the pair used VADA, but instead, Hendricks suggested the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
And after a series of correspondence back and forth from both parties, the proposition fell through the floor. Shortly afterward, UFC President Dana White came out publicly and said both fighters "looked stupid" for their failed efforts.
St-Pierre is among the most decorated and accomplished fighters to ever step inside the Octagon. He boasts nine successful title defenses and holds the record for the most wins by any competitor in the Octagon (19). However, for whatever reason, he has been dogged by allegations that he uses performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
B.J. Penn was the first to throw an unfounded stone and then his UFC 158 foe, Nick Diaz, followed suit, hinting that the talented French-Canadian was anything but clean.
All this even though St-Pierre has never failed a drug test in his professional MMA career.
The gates opened for St-Pierre to express the true nature of how he felt when a reporter asked him a question about the UFC 167 drug testing. And St. Pierre cracked a smile, saying, "Oh, here's someone who reads between the lines. That's good."
He kept it respectful, yet he did not pull any punches, either:
"I tried to do something to change the sport. Unfortunately, there were other people, for different reasons, maybe for money, in fear of losing money, because if you canceled the fight because someone tested positive there are millions of dollars [lost]. Also, the sport's image ... If you start testing everyone, how many will get caught? I don't want to say in public because I don't want to accuse anyone, but the sport's image will be hurt. Don't forget, I have internal information. I'm an athlete. I know what goes on, so that disappointed me greatly."
St-Pierre was never one to stir up controversy -- he always kept things civilized and respectful. He towed the company line, whatever it was, and never rocked the boat.
With him now on the sidelines indefinitely, it seems as though St-Pierre is a little more willing to speak his mind. He isn't saying anything necessarily new -- or anything that we are not aware of previously -- It simply seems odd because it is coming from him.
Especially when it comes to what he thinks of the current state of MMA,\ and the leading organization that he fought under for so long:
"This is a relatively new sport. There's one organization that has a monopoly, so the fighters don't have much power. They can't really talk because if one says what he thinks, he will get punished. If we want the sport to be accepted worldwide, like baseball, hockey, football, soccer, I believe [drug testing] is the thing to do. I think it's just a matter of time before it happens, it's just that I tried to make it happen now. Maybe they didn't like the idea because if I did it now, it would lead to others doing it and maybe that's not something they wanted to happen. It disappointed me. You know that there are things I can't say. I'm holding back. I'm a public person."
It remains to be seen if the promotion wants to address this issue at all ... especially since White insists on giving St-Pierre space.