I offered $10,000 – Zahabi accuses Johny Hendricks of PED use, declining to take HGH test for GSP fight

GSP's coach has accused Johny Hendricks of using PEDs.

By: Anton Tabuena | 3 weeks ago
I offered $10,000 – Zahabi accuses Johny Hendricks of PED use, declining to take HGH test for GSP fight
IMAGO / USAT /Stephen R. Sylvanie

Was Johny Hendricks on performance enhancing drugs?

Georges St-Pierre recently made headlines by saying that before USADA and during his title reign, UFC ‘did not have my back’ and ‘didn’t want any part’ of having increased drug testing in the sport. According to the MMA legend, UFC “even told the other guys, ‘Oh, don’t take the test, don’t take the test.'”

GSP didn’t mention any names, but he was talking about the reason for his hiatus from the sport, which happened after fighting Johny Hendricks. Interestingly enough, his longtime coach Firas Zahabi was recently asked about Hendricks specifically, but unlike St-Pierre, he didn’t hold back.

GSP’s coach believes Johny Hendricks was on PEDs

“I do think he was on PEDs. Yeah, I do, honestly,” Zahabi said on his YouTube channel. “His drop-off was so significant. When he fought Georges, he admitted to being 220 (pounds) in the octagon. So, he made 170 and he went up 50 pounds? That’s insane. Georges was probably 185.

“You’re tricking the system so well you have this major advantage, you’re fighting a smaller guy. I think he probably did use PEDs,” Zahabi said.

After tearing through top contenders, Hendricks earned lost a razor thin decision to St-Pierre in 2013, then won the UFC title after the latter went on his hiatus. The former champion has been one of the many fighters fans and even some pundits suspected of PED use, after his major decline supposedly coincided with the arrival of USADA late in 2015.

Zahabi also went on to tell the story of how they tried and failed to get increased testing done for that 2013 title bout. He even offered $10,000 to make it happen, likely suspecting Hendricks was on PEDs at the time.

“Johny Hendricks in an interview said he would do testing. This is public information. Me and Georges St-Pierre took it upon ourselves to hire VADA, who’s going to independently test both teams and they’re gonna publish it no matter what the result. Even if there’s a false positive, false whatever. The results will be published and an explanation soon to come. That’s it. That was music to our ears.

“Here’s the thing, we got on the call and the UFC didn’t want to use this group. They wanted to use another group. They wanted to use the Nevada state,” Zahabi said. “Okay, let’s do both testing, let’s make everybody happy. I offered to pay $10,000 from my own pocket. Georges will pay one test, I will pay for the other, there’s no money coming out of anybody else’s pockets.”

GSP’s camp wanted to test for HGH specifically

Zahabi stated that they wanted “every test you have under the sun,” but they also specifically wanted both parties tested for HGH, likely suspecting it could be what Hendricks is taking. He says this became an issue and was spun differently to avoid getting the testing done.

“We want HGH testing,” Zahabi recalled. “I was saying ‘look we should test for everything random. Don’t tell me what’s on the test, but also test both fighters for HGH, human growth hormone. I want that on every test — like can I make the test even harder? Then they’re trying to spin it — Mike (Dolce) was not on the call, so he might have got some misinformation, but his side was saying ‘oh they want to know what’s on the test.’

“I never asked to know what’s on the test. Make your test as random as possible,” Zahabi said. “Everybody can understand my argument here, absolutely everybody. It’s just that they didn’t want to understand it because they didn’t want us working with a drug test.

“What happened in the end? Ask yourself this. Only Georges St-Pierre got drug tested. In the end, we paid VADA to test Georges St-Pierre. He paid a company to test him randomly after having an agreement with Johny Hendricks that he would do it too,” Zahabi said. “Johny Hendricks did not keep his word. He said he would take any test and he did not. Why didn’t he keep his word? You guys tell me.

“I talked to (Hendrick’s nutritionist) Mike (Dolce) about this and he said it publicly, ‘Oh, I think he fell off afterward because he didn’t have the motivation. He just wanted to win the world title and after that, he didn’t have the motivation.’ I don’t know, might be true. I just don’t believe it. I don’t buy it. When you have millions of dollars on the line, you find that motivation,” he said. “Nobody wants to go down like that. Nobody wants to go up a weight class and miss weight, then get stopped. Nobody wants to fall off like that.

“I personally don’t believe it. I mean it’s not impossible. I won’t say they’re liars, I won’t say it’s untrue, that’s just Mike Dolce’s take on it,” he said. “That’s just not my take on it. I think he was on stuff. Why wouldn’t he take the test?

“It doesn’t change anything in your life and let them throw in HGH (testing if you’re clean). Why spin it as ‘oh they want to know what’s on the test’? No we don’t want to know,” he said. “It’s just so absurd. So absurd.”

St-Pierre would end up winning a very close decision over Hendricks, but the bout remained one of GSP’s toughest title bouts since his loss to Matt Serra. He would go on a four year hiatus, before returning in the USADA era, where he went up to middleweight to take the title against Michael Bisping in 2017.

While St-Pierre only competed once under the USADA era, the anti-doping organization tested him 19 times while he was in the testing pool.

Why do people speculate about Hendricks and PEDs?

Johny Hendricks was tested by USADA twice in 2015, 13 times in 2016, and nine times in 2017. He never failed any of those 24 drug tests.

That didn’t stop the speculation about possible PED use though, as Hendricks’ record since USADA officially started their UFC partnership is 1-5. The former welterweight champion also missed weight three times in that stretch, including one at middleweight, where he came in at 188 lbs in a TKO loss to Tim Boetsch.

Hendricks’s last fight was a TKO loss to Paulo Costa at middleweight. The former UFC champion announced his retirement soon after, and left the sport with a record of 18-8.

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About the author
Anton Tabuena
Anton Tabuena

Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

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