Back in 2013, Georges St-Pierre surprised the MMA world by announcing his hiatus from competition. At the prime age of 32 and on top of the world as the longtime welterweight champion, “GSP” decided to take a break.
At the time, St-Pierre felt mentally and physically drained from fighting at the highest level. Later on, he pointed to the sport’s recurring PED problem and his battle against it, which he says caused him depression.
In his recent appearance on the Full Send podcast, Georges St-Pierre once again touched on the PED issue he dealt with and how it drove him “crazy.”
Georges St-Pierre says the UFC didn’t have his back
Georges St-Pierre says he felt alone in his fight against performance-enhancing drugs at the height of his career and reign as champion. He even claimed that the UFC didn’t want fighters to be tested.
“I was on top of that fight against performance-enhancing drugs in the sport, and I felt like the UFC, at the time, did not have my back. They didn’t want it. They didn’t want any part of it (testing),” he said.
“The UFC didn’t have my back on that, at first. They didn’t want nothing of it. They even told the other guys, ‘Oh, don’t take the test, don’t take the test.’
“It drove me crazy. And if I could go back, I would’ve held my stand and said, ‘Oh yeah, you don’t want to do the test? I’m out.’ I would’ve even retired.”
Georges St-Pierre refused to name names without ample evidence. He also clarified that his goal wasn’t to attack the UFC. Rather, he wanted to elevate the company and the sport as a whole.
“I never wanted to attack one individual and I wanted to change the system. And I wanted to do it, not to hurt the UFC. That was not my goal.
“I wanted to elevate the UFC, elevate the sport. ‘Cause the outcome of a win or loss is very dramatic in our sport. It could influence the life of an individual. (A loss) could be very bad.”
Georges St-Pierre wonders how it could’ve been if he was on PEDs
Georges St-Pierre was already an exceptional and dominant fighter during his peak. All of that is evident just by looking at his résumé and the competition he faced.
But he was also made to wonder how things would’ve been like if he was on the juice.
“I asked myself, ‘How good would I be if I took some stuff?’ Even some of my training partners, they tell me they take certain things and I see (they’re) not even the same people when they are and they are not (on PEDs). Crazy difference.
“People that say, ‘Oh, it has nothing to do with the (drugs) because you’re the one throwing the punch.’ Yes, it has something to do (with it). It’s a bullshit excuse, because when you take performance-enhancing drugs, it changes you not only physically, it changes you mentally.”
The UFC partnership with USADA and apparent issues
The sport’s landscape changed in 2015 when the UFC announced its partnership with USADA. As company executive Jeff Nowitzky declared at the time, it would be the “most comprehensive, effective, (and) best program in all of professional sport.”
And he wasn’t lying. From then on, fighters on the roster were made to go through rigorous protocols that resulted in suspensions if violated.
But even with USADA and its stringent rules in play, some fighters still feel that these can be (and are being) skirted around.
“There are people who live in Russia and aren’t tested,” an anonymous UFC fighter told the Athletic in 2020. “There are people who go to Thailand and aren’t tested. It’s a way of bypassing the anti-doping (testing).
“That’s the truth. Everybody who goes to Russia, to Thailand, to do camps, they do it to dope. To take steroids.”
Another fighter who chose not to be named echoed a similar sentiment.
“I truly feel like there are a lot of foreign fighters still getting away with stuff. I’m hugely in support of drug testing. They can test me whenever they want to. I just want it to be the same for everyone.”
As for St-Pierre, who turns 42 this month, he’s been far removed from fighting and all the issues that come with it. He did return for one last time during the USADA era in 2017 when he fought Michael Bisping for the middleweight title.
Georges St-Pierre won via submission to become a two-division UFC champion, but eventually retired in 2019.
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