The UFC welterweight champion should be celebrating the four-round pummeling he gave lightweight king B.J. Penn last Saturday at UFC 94 in Las Vegas. Instead, St. Pierre’s had to defend his integrity amidst allegations that his cornermen improperly applied Vaseline to the fighter’s shoulders and back during his first two corner breaks.
“Listen, I never cheated in my life,” an animated St. Pierre told Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Wednesday. “Let me tell you something, I never said something bad to B.J. Penn. I never answered back to him with what he said. I’ve always been respectful. Even after the fight I went and told him, ‘Hey, keep your head up. You can be proud. You’re a tough guy. You stayed in the ring for a long time.’ But now that he says something like that it bothers me a lot. He already said I was taking steroids, that I was a quitter, that he was blaming me for seeing a sports psychologist and now he says that I cheat because I use Vaseline.”
The 27-year-old French Canadian, who narrowly bested Penn via split decision in their first meeting at UFC 58 in March 2006, said Penn’s contempt is misplaced.
“It’s disrespectful, but B.J. is a winner,” St. Pierre said. “I understand a winner’s mentality. A winner’s mentality always tries to understand the reason why he lost. In B.J.’s case, he doesn’t do it in a good way. I understand that he tries to understand why he lost, but what he should’ve done instead of looking at things he doesn’t control he should’ve looked at himself in the mirror and asked himself what he should’ve done better to be more well-prepared for that fight to be able to beat Georges St. Pierre instead of looking at me and try to find excuses… B.J. right now is doing it all wrong and he’s not going to become a better fighter if he keeps acting like this.”
During the bout, NSAC officials instructed St. Pierre’s cornermen, Phil Nurse and Greg Jackson, to cease rubbing the fighter’s shoulders and back directly after they’d applied Vaseline to the fighter’s face. St. Pierre said the regimen was meant to enable his recuperative breathing between rounds.
“First of all what happened is Phil, he put Vaseline in my face, but then after he didn’t have the Vaseline,” said St. Pierre. “After he put Vaseline in my face, he didn’t put Vaseline in my back. That’s what people don’t understand. He put one hand on my chest and he made a circle behind my back. It helps my breathing.”
St. Pierre also outlined the importance of being massaged between rounds.
“When you come back in the corner, sometimes by punching and clinching, your shoulders are stiff,” said St. Pierre. “So it’s good to massage the shoulders to make the blood flow, you know what I mean? To make it more loose. If you look at muay Thai fights, in muay Thai they come back in the corner to get massage[d] to make the blood circulate. It’s the same thing in MMA. You get massage[d] to make the blood flow so you’re more fresh the next round.”
In the letter filed Tuesday with the NSAC, Penn’s camp also stated they’d received prior knowledge of St. Pierre’s alleged tendencies.
Matt Hughes, who lost to St. Pierre in two of their three welterweight bouts, has been one former opponent of the beloved Canadian champion to comment publicly about the allegations.
“I’m not saying GSP did something wrong and I’m not saying that it would have changed any outcomes of any fights; but what I am saying is, for my last two fights against Georges, he felt greasy,” read a post on Hughes’ Web site on Tuesday.
St. Pierre seemed shocked by Hughes’ words.
“I don’t know what to say,” he told the “Beatdown” hosts. “The next fight day they just have to check me. I have nothing to hide. It pisse[s] me off a little bit. It’s like people are jealous or something… I’m not going to talk bad. I don’t mind. Everything comes up and down in life. I think Matt Hughes is trying to find excuses now for going on the way down. I don’t know.”
When asked about giving Penn a rematch in light of the controversy, St. Pierre didn’t hesitate though.
“Lets go do a rematch with B.J. Penn,” said St. Pierre. “We’re going to do it this summer. St. Pierre-Penn III -- and this time we’ll wear a rash guard. I guarantee you the result will be the same or even worse for him.”