The talk about Georges St-Pierre returning to fighting has had a fever pitch recently, but the more it gets talked about, the less and less likely it sounds that the former UFC welterweight great will ever set foot in the Octagon again.
St-Pierre stepped away from fighting after he defeated Johny Hendricks in November of 2013. He offered several reasons for relinquishing his belt, but what has become more and more evident over time is his distaste for the state of performance-enhancing drug use in mixed martial arts.
The recent big-name busts in drug testing haven’t exactly bolstered his confidence that the sport is any cleaner now than when he left it.
“I don’t want to talk about one individual, I want to talk about the system,” St-Pierre recently told CTV News. “The system is a big problem in the sport of mixed martial arts. It’s something that I believe the UFC and fighters should confront and deal with it. Because if you don’t deal with it right now, it’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”
While he’s not calling the current system corrupt, he feels like more could be done to clean up the sport. One thing that the former champion has consistently pointed to is the need for true independent drug testing on the level of the Olympics.
Currently, drug testing falls under the authority of the athletic commission that regulates specific mixed martial arts events. But generally, the athletic commission also benefits financially by collecting fees from the promoter of the event.
So, as an example, in the recent case where Anderson Silva was drug tested on Jan. 9, but the results of the test weren’t revealed until after his fight took place on Jan. 31, the UFC (the promoter) and the Nevada Athletic Commission (the regulatory body) both benefited financially from the fight not being cancelled.
That’s not to say that either the commission of the promotion in any way influenced the time it took for the result to be reported, but the perception that the result could have been intentionally delayed is there.
Silva’s test samples were collected and tested by Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, an independent World Anti-Doping Agency approved facility. The test, however, was paid for by the UFC, and ordered at the behest of the Nevada Athletic Commission.
This is where St-Pierre sees that truly independent, Olympic-style testing would go a long way towards cleaning up the sport he once dominated.
“(The Olympics) have random testing and the testing is done by a competent and an independent organization (the World Anti-Doping Association) that has no interest financially in the promotion of (the sport),” he told The Canadian Press.
Under the current system, it appears that a change of that magnitude isn’t going to come into play any time soon. And if it doesn’t, don’t expect to see St-Pierre fighting in a cage.
Though he has yet to make any definitive decisions about his future in the sport, St-Pierre isn’t apt to return to return when the landscape has so many fighters that are willing to take advantage of their opponents.
“(Performance-enhancing drugs) are an advantage that you have over your opponent that you should not be able to compete with,” St-Pierre continued. “Because you put the health of the (other) competitor in jeopardy.
“We’re not playing golf, we’re not racing, we’re fighting. Every time we fight we put our lives, our well-being in jeopardy.”
St-Pierre no longer appears willing to accept the risk.