If Georges St-Pierre has a problem with the way the UFC does business, Dana White suggests he should “be a man and pick up the phone.”
The MMA world has been buzzing ever since St-Pierre informed the French media on Tuesday that the UFC’s passive approach in regards to pre-fight drug screening was one of the main reasons he went on an indefinite leave.
According to St-Pierre (h/t MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani), the UFC is a “monopoly” that needs to step up its drug testing efforts if it ever hopes to be accepted worldwide the same way as other mainstream sports.
He even went as far as claiming that the UFC’s willingness to embrace change and improve drug testing would be the deciding factor of whether or not he ever returns to the UFC.
On Wednesday night, White appeared on Fox Sports to address St-Pierre’s comments:
Well, [I’m] obviously shocked when he came out and said this. First of all, everybody should remember Georges St-Pierre came out and said he wanted to do this extra drug testing, it was so he could prove he wasn’t on drugs. He didn’t come out and say, ‘Hey, I want to do extra drug testing because I think Johny Hendricks is on drugs. Everybody has been saying that they think Georges St-Pierre is on it for years, so he wanted to prove that he wasn’t.
Leading up to his UFC title fight with Hendricks, St-Pierre suggested to his opponent that they both undergo random drug testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). It was an extra measure meant to serve as an example to the rest of the world that performance-enhancing drugs weren’t needed to be a world-class fighter.
In a sense, St-Pierre was attempting to lead by example by bringing more legitimacy to the sport. His plans quickly unraveled when Hendricks backed out of their gentleman’s agreement to use VADA, opting to enlist with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) instead.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour, St-Pierre explained that there was actually “no such thing” as WADA testing. Rather, WADA is "only an organization that makes the guidelines." Basically, an initial gentleman's agreement turned into a confusing battle of acronyms with both sides refusing to back down.
The athletic commission was involved in this whole thing, tried to make it happen, and at the end of the day, Georges St-Pierre ended up not doing it, said White. Nobody told Georges he couldn’t do it. I said it was ridiculous. You’re never gonna get two guys to agree on what drug test they’re gonna do.
White has taken a lot of criticism following St-Pierre’s fight with Hendricks at UFC 167. The UFC champ put on a gutsy performance that earned him a controversial split decision.
After the fight, St-Pierre announced that he would be taking a much-needed break from fighting to clear the cobwebs and refocus his training. White, who was incredibly upset at the decision, went on a verbal tirade at the post-fight press conference, claiming St-Pierre “owed it to the UFC and fans to give Johny Hendricks a rematch.”
A common belief amongst media and fans was that White jumped the gun. St-Pierre had obviously undergone a tremendous amount of punishment in his bout with Hendricks. Perhaps a more professional move would have been to speak with St-Pierre personally to see where his head was at before publicly criticizing him in front of the media.
I heard that Georges St-Pierre is upset that I thought that Johny Hendricks won the fight and didn’t like a lot of things that I said at the press conference, White said. Well, be a man and pick up the phone or let’s get together and talk face to face because we talked face to face after the fight, and he didn’t say a word about it. He didn’t say anything about this.
Judging from White’s comments, it would appear as if the change St-Pierre seeks won’t be coming anytime soon.