Despite comments from UFC president Dana White that he "knew for a fact" that former champion Georges St. Pierre would return from his self-imposed UFC exile, an interview with St. Pierre this week makes it seem a if the fighter and promotion are further apart than ever. In addition to expressing certainty that GSP would come back, White also dismissed St. Pierre's earlier comments that part of the reason he took a leave of absence from MMA competition was because of concerns he had for illicit performance enhancing drug and treatment use among fighters and lax testing by the promotion and regulatory bodies.
That's not why he's gone," White claimed.
"He's not gone because of TRT or any of that stuff. He's gone because he had personal problems that he needed to deal with. A lot of that stuff got blown out of proportion. He's gone because of the reason he sat down with me and Lorenzo that night and told us."
White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta have also expressed public astonishment that, as they said, St. Pierre would express concerns about rampant PED use in public without ever expressing them to the UFC brass in private, first. St. Pierre says that is malarkey.
"I met them after my fight with Johny Hendricks when I went in the back. I said that to them. I said it to them, I swear on myself and my family," St. Pierre told MMA Fighting.
"So when they say I never said it, that I said it publicly before I said it to them, I said it to them first."
The fighter reasserted that his desire for more rigorous drug testing is absolutely one of the reasons he's stepped away. "I have personal issues," he began.
"And also the drug testing has something to do with it...This is the truth. I said it first. And I cannot use the kind of language I would like to use, in the way that I told them, because I did not use the right language, very nice language when I said that to them. I made references to very bad things and I cannot tell you the way that I said it because I never want to accuse one individual.
"They were not surprised. I don't believed they were surprised. I told them and they were like, ‘oh, you think so?' I was like, yeah, I know for a fact."
St. Pierre claimed that he wanted to help MMA and the UFC, not tear them down, with his allegations and call for more drug testing of athletes. According to the fighter, Fertitta agrees with him that reforms are needed.
"Lorenzo understands that it's true. I believe the problem is not the UFC, it's the system. It's a new sport, and the last thing I want is to hurt the UFC. I just want to elevate the sport. I think it's the next step for elevating the sport, that it should be done," St. Pierre said.
"The system is not in place. There are no guidelines. The way they test now, it's not good. It's not good the way they test. If you get caught on steroids right now, it's because you're very disorganized. It's so easy to beat the test. It's ridiculous. It's not a real test.
"There needs to be random testing by an independent organization that has no interest in the money for the fight. That's how it should be done. That's how it is in any other sport."
And although most UFC events are regulated by government agencies who conduct drug tests, St. Pierre believes that if the promotion itself leads the way and gets out in front with more rigorous and random drug testing of its fighters, a positive domino effect will take place.
"If the UFC changed something, it's going to change everything, because the UFC is like Vaseline, it's like Q-tips. Now when people think about mixed martial arts, they don't even say mixed martial arts. They say UFC, because the UFC is the biggest and the most prestigious organization," St. Pierre explained.
The future hall of famer fighter concluded by saying that his only regret was waiting so long to speak out against banned drug and treatment use in MMA. "The only thing I regret now is, this thing, I should have done it better. I should have done it before," he said.
"I should have done it before this, because this has been bothering me for a long time, and I never said anything. But I should have done this long before. Because I had money. I could have paid for the VADA tests earlier. I should have done that before."