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When Georges St-Pierre announced an indefinite leave from fighting based mainly on what he claimed was rampant PED use in MMA, many bristled at the notion that it was as bad as GSP was intimating.
Some proclaimed that the popular French-Canadian fighter, who often found himself at the center of PED accusations throughout his storied career himself, was making excuses, and that he simply could not compete with the new breed of fighter that was on its way up.
But St-Pierre held fast to his longtime belief that a large percentage of fighters from every rung of the rankings ladder are getting a pharmaceutical leg up on the competition.
“I knew [PED use] was a big problem. I knew for a long time, and it was bothering me and bothering me more and more. People act like it’s a big secret. People know it’s a big problem. It’s not like a race or a game,” St-Pierre told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour on Monday. "I’m not surprised so many guys have gotten busted. [There are] going to be other names coming up. If they keep doing the right testing, [there are] going to be other guys coming up [positive]. I believe this is the tip of the iceberg. A lot of fighters are going to be caught.”
The former UFC welterweight champion said that he was offered a superfight with Anderson Silva at UFC 186 in April, and he declined the fight because he was busy with other projects and because he was still concerned about PEDs in the sport. St-Pierre says he’s glad he didn’t take the bout with Silva, who tested positive for two steroids ahead of his UFC 183 bout with Nick Diaz.
“[Dana] called me to fight in Montreal and he texted me to see if I was interested in fighting Anderson Silva right before this thing came out. I said no. My answer was negative. Then the whole thing came out and it was bad,” St-Pierre recalled.
“You put your life in jeopardy every time you step in the Octagon. It’s a fighting sport – a full-contact sport. I’ve always considered performance-enhancing drugs like a weapon and you shouldn’t be allowed to fight like this. I think the fight [between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz] shouldn’t have happened, but unfortunately it did and nobody got hurt, which is a good thing.”
One thing GSP cautioned against is lumping together all of the teams and gyms of fighters caught cheating.
“People say, ‘None of my guys use PEDs.’ We don’t know. If someone gets caught [using PEDs] in Montreal [at Tristar], it doesn’t mean the whole team is dirty. If someone got caught from Black House, it doesn’t mean that the whole team is dirty,” St-Pierre pointed out. “[Tristar coach Firas Zahabi] talks openly against performance-enhancing drugs, but if someone after the hour of training decides to go [home] and inject himself with some kind of substance, Firas can’t do anything about it. It’s not his fault; it’s out of his control. Every individual is responsible for his own actions.”
Although he believes that it’s up to each fighter as an individual to do the right thing when it comes to PED use, St-Pierre believes it will take a collective effort from the UFC and its stakeholders to clean up the problem. He remains somewhat cynical, however.
“They need to do something. They need to find a solution for the safety of the competitors,” St-Pierre said. “I wonder if the safety of the competitors is as important as the financial [interests of the UFC].”