An Event Timeline Of The Dana White / Georges St-Pierre Fiasco
For a man who is enjoying the simple life of semi-retirement, Georges St-Pierre sure is in the news a lot.
Usually a quiet, reserved individual, “GSP” has recently been anything but, performing interview after interview, attempting to disclose his side of this perplexing story.
It can get pretty confusing, to be completely honest. There’s been a lot of he-said she-said, a lot of accusations, a lot of irritable interviews and a lot of animosity building up. So, in order to make sense of all this meandering, I present to you, “The Dana White And Georges St-Pierre Timeline”.
A Long Time Ago, In an Octagon Far, Far Away…
July 6th, 2013 – In an interview conducted prior to UFC 162, St-Pierre extended an invite to the next man in line for a shot at his welterweight championship, Johny Hendricks, to submit himself for VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) testing. St-Pierre was concerned that the sport of MMA “has a problem now” with performance-enhancing drug abuse, and felt that it was his responsibility to “set a good example” for the other men and women on the UFC roster. Another reason that St-Pierre was opting for the additional testing was to prove his detractors wrong. You see – although St-Pierre has never failed a pre or post-fight drug test in his entire MMA career – multiple past opponents of St-Pierre’s have accused him of cheating (typically these opponents do so after losing to the longtime welterweight kingpin, mind you).
September 7th, 2013 – Two months prior to St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks’ showdown in the Octagon, the tentative verbal agreement between the two parties to participate in VADA testing begins to fall apart. St-Pierre originally told the Hendricks camp that he would pay for all VADA testing, but when Hendricks’ manager, Ted Ehrhardt, found out that “VADA is giving the testing to him for free”, it raised a lot of eyebrows inside the challenger’s camp:
“Somehow he has a relationship with VADA. I don’t know to what degree, but that made us a little nervous and since we don’t work for GSP, we work for the UFC.”
At this point, both parties agreed to using WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) testing instead, to expunge any suspicions of foul play. Everything seemed to be in order…
Until about a week later, that is.
That’s when, according to Ehrhardt, “GSP’s attorney asked 15 or 20 questions about how WADA is going to test for this and that, how they are going to move the tests, how are they going to do this, a ton of questions. He wanted to have predetermined times. It’s not random if you know when they’re coming.”
“He had questions about what they test for, and that’s another red flag. Why do you care what they test for, if you’re clean, you’re clean?”
The plot thickens…
September 9th, 2013 – Johny Hendricks goes on The MMA Hour to discuss the VADA / WADA situation, and explains that – during the confusion over where and when to do the drug testing – St-Pierre had apparently gone forward with his plans of being tested by VADA. According to Hendricks, St-Pierre never divulged his plans to Hendricks or his camp, which Hendricks believes was St-Pierre “throwing him under the bus“, making it seem like Hendricks had turned down the testing.
“All of a sudden a week later after the conference call, I didn’t know GSP was going to be doing a drug test, then it comes out that ‘Johny denied it,’” Hendricks said. “I said hey, you didn’t even tell me you were going to do VADA. The last I heard from my management and the UFC was WADA. Then GSP just went and did VADA on his own and threw me under the bus to clear his name.”
September 12th, 2013 – Never one to shy away from sharing his opinion, Dana White chimes in on the drug testing fiasco:
“I think it makes them both look stupid. These guys are going to get tested by the athletic commission.This is something that Georges St. Pierre wants to prove to everybody. When he fought B.J. [Penn], B.J. talked smack about him. Other people have talked stuff. The kid, not only is he another guy that’s been with us since day one, he’s never tested positive for anything even remotely close to anything bad. He’s never tested positive for anything. He’s always been a straight shooter and always professional, yet people keep talking smack about him. I just think it’s crazy for him to even do this.”
October 9th, 2013 – “GSP” conducts an interview with the Canadian Media, expressing his disappointment with the UFC and their perceived “lack of support” when it comes to his attempt to “clean up” the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. This looks to be the first domino to fall; a possible catalyst to the chain-reaction that would eventually lead to St-Pierre’s break from the sport of MMA:
“The only thing is that I do not know if they [UFC] are willing to support me. I thought they were ready to support me, but I was disappointed,very disappointed with this turn of events. There are things I can not say. I do not want to get back to the UFC because it is my employer. However, I do not take journalists for idiots. They are able to read between the lines. They are able to see what happens.”
October 18th, 2013 – Dana White passively (for Dana, anyway) fires back at GSP during the UFC 166 pre-fight media scrum, about his comments on the UFC and their possible lack of support:
“I don’t know how we didn’t back him up? I mean the UFC was involved in all those conversations that they had with the commission. Originally Georges St. Pierre said he was going to pay for it and then he wasn’t going to pay for it. The whole thing was done very weird. And if he feels like we didn’t support him, I dunno. The whole thing’s f***ing weird. I haven’t talked to him about it. He’s very fired up about it because he went out and started this thing and it’s turned into a clusterf***, I get it. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to tell him. The whole f***ing thing’s weird.”
November 16th, 2013 – UFC 167 ends in a highly controversial manner, with St-Pierre barely edging out Hendricks to retain his welterweight title. After the fight, Joe Rogan conducts his familiar in-cage interview with St-Pierre, where the visually distraught champ hints at a possible retirement from the sport. The comments he made were disjointed and a bit ambiguous, leading people to ponder exactly how much of a mental toll this sport has taken on the psyche of the champ:
“I need to make a point now. I can’t sleep at night. I’m going crazy. I need to relax. I need to get out for awhile.I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I feel like I left everything out, but I need to keep some of my stuff…part of my life personal…”
With that, it seemed that St-Pierre would be walking away from the sport for an undetermined amount of time.
Needless to say, with Dana White furious over Hendricks being “robbed” by inept judging, coupled with the newly announced semi-retirement from the biggest draw and money-earner the UFC has ever seen, the UFC President nose dived into a rabid, angry, vitriolic tirade at the post-fight press conference:
“Did you see Georges get smashed and hurt in the first round? It’s about damage. This is a fight. It’s about whoever inflicts the most damage.He got hurt, he got wobbled, he got dropped. I’m blown away that Georges St. Pierre won that fight. And listen, I’m a promoter.He’s the biggest pay-per-view star on the f*****g planet for me, and I still don’t think he won that fight. I want what’s fair and that wasn’t fair.” White claimed.
And on the specific subject of St-Pierre’s pseudo-retirement? White was even more impudent, insinuating that “Rush” would be virtually forced to either give Hendricks a rematch, or permanently retire from the sport:
“Did he say he wants to retire? He didn’t say ‘I’m gonna retire, it’s been great everybody! Thanks a lot for all the years, see you later!’He said ‘I’m gonna take some time off and I’m gonna”— FIRST of all, that decision that happens, right? You don’t just say ‘I’m gonna take a while off and maybe I’ll be back and maybe I won’t’. You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again unless you’re gonna retire.”
November 19th, 2013 – Multiple Media outlets – including writers from Bleacher Report, MMAFighting, Fightline, and MMAJunkie – start to fire back at Dana White for his attacks on the welterweight champion, calling Dana out for his seemingly cold and callous treatment of a fighter who has given so much to the UFC, and its fans. I personally couldn’t help expressing my disappointment in White’s actions, via an article I published, titled “Going Mental – Georges St-Pierre, Dana White, and the ugly side of MMA“.
November 23rd, 2013 – All fighters on the UFC 167 card – including St-Pierre and Hendricks – test clean for banned substances.
December 13th, 2013 – Dana White and St-Pierre hold a conference call with the press, in order clear the air over St-Pierre’s future in the sport. St-Pierre stunningly announces that he will be vacating his welterweight championship belt:
“I’ve been fighting for a very long time at a high level, it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism,” St-Pierre said in an opening statement. “I decided I needed to take a time off, I know the UFC is a business and they can’t wait on my personal [business] they need to keep things rolling. I’m vacating my title for the other competitors.”
After the conference, St. Pierre spoke with a group of French-speaking journalists, and opted to answer some questions about his future:
“I don’t want to say retirement, because it’s not retirement,” St. Pierre said. “I’d say it’s a break. I need a break to live a normal life. If I want to come back, one day if I feel like it, I will come back stronger.”
St-Pierre went on to explain that he was confident he had won the fight with Hendricks, and that his decision to take a break from the sport had already been made, prior to the fight.
Then… St-Pierre said something that raised a few eyebrows. Okay… a lot of eyebrows.
“What happened November 16th after the [Hendricks] fight, I was waiting for the doctors for a while. Finally, they arrived, fixed me up, took my shower and put a tie on. I approached someone who worked for the UFC and asked where the press conference was,” St. Pierre said. “She told me I didn’t have to go. I said, ‘No, there is controversy after my fight, I’d like to explain myself, and clear up things’. She said ‘No, it’s fine, you don’t have to go.’ I told her that I was going to go. I started to walk toward the press conference and she started yelling at me, saying ‘Georges, you’re not allowed to go … you’re not supposed to go.” “I said, ‘Oh yeah?! I’m still going,”" St. Pierre added. “Every one was white. Everyone was staring at me, surprised to see me. I did not know why. Then I thought, maybe something happened. I sit down, I do the press conference not knowing why, and afterward my friends told me a rumor was circulating that I had left in an ambulance,” St. Pierre continued. “Dana White said I left in an ambulance and that was not true. I was completely fine. Two days later, I was playing volleyball.”
December 14th, 2013 – Dana White addresses the press conference situation:
“My PR people told me that he [GSP] had gone to the hospital in an ambulance. When he was trying to go to the press conference, the doctors were telling him ‘No’. That he had to go to the hospital. And he [GSP] was saying ‘No, I want to go to the press conference’.”
“We don’t tell guys ‘you can’t go to the press conference’. Never told a guy you can’t go. Especially Georges St-Pierre. Nobody’s going to tell Georges St-Pierre after a title fight that he can’t go to the press conference.” “I just wanted to clear that stupidity up. A little bit was lost in translation there, when Georges was telling that story.”
January 2nd, 2014 – Adding more fuel to the slowly building fire, St-Pierre begins telling the media that the UFC had taken his championship belt from him,without his knowledge, after his UFC 167 main event fight:
“I’m taking my shower after the fight. I’m in my suit and tie, after that, they passed by, took the belt and they left with it, without even telling me. I have the belts I won before, but I don’t have the one from my last fight.”
January 11th, 2014 – In his first official interview since his semi-retirement from the sport of MMA, St-Pierre tells the Edmonton Sun that he’s “very happy” with the decision he made:
“I spent Christmas time and New Years, with my family. That’s something I haven’t done for a long time. This is the first time I’ve really had nothing on my schedule. It was perfect. It was fun. It’s the first time it felt so good. I’m 32 years old and this is the first time I have my Christmas with my family. I spent some time but I never really had free time, total free time like I did. It was time for me to do it. I’m very happy I did it and I don’t regret any of it. So Christmas was incredible and now for 2014 we’ll see what’s going to happen. I have some projects in mind. I can’t talk about it, unfortunately. I needed to take a step out of it and now let’s see what’s going to happen.”
January 13th, 2014 – Dana White announces that the UFC has cut all ties with St-Pierre, which may have been one of the reasons that St-Pierre began speaking to the media more frequently. White had this to say:
“Georges St. Pierre said he wants to go handle his stuff and take some time off. We haven’t talked about Georges St. Pierre since. We haven’t called Georges St. Pierre. We’re letting Georges St. Pierre have his time. If Georges St. Pierre decides he wants to come back and fight, then he can come back and fight.”
January 14, 2014 – In another interview conducted with St-Pierre, the former champ continues shedding more light on why he left the sport of MMA. St-Pierre seems to go on a bit of an “anti-UFC” rant during this interview, citing unhappiness with his employer, and noting his disappointment in their lack of support when it came to his voluntary drug testing, prior to UFC 167. St-Pierre doesn’t stop there, however, and starts to drag his employer through the proverbial mud, accusing the UFC of being a “monopoly”, and insisting that fighters are not able to express their feelings or opinions due to the threat of being punished:
“It bothered me enormously,” St-Pierre said while being interviewed in Montreal. “That’s one of the reasons why I stopped fighting. Not really to teach them a lesson, because that would also punish me. I wanted to do something for the sport. I love the sport. I see the direction it’s going, and I don’t think it makes any sense. This is stupid.”
“I tried to do something to change the sport,” he said. “Unfortunately, there were other people, for different reasons, maybe for money, in fear of losing money, because if you canceled the fight because someone tested positive there are millions of dollars [lost]. Also, the sport’s image … If you start testing everyone, how many will get caught? I don’t want to say in public because I don’t want to accuse anyone, but the sport’s image will be hurt.”
“Don’t forget, I have internal information. I’m an athlete. I know what goes on, so that disappointed me greatly.”
“The only thing I want to say is, I wanted to do something to help those who are honest in the sport. Believe me or not, I never took drugs in my life. I’ll take a lie detector test, I don’t care. I’m for anti-doping tests. I think it’s a big problem in the sport.”
“This is a relatively new sport. There’s one organization that has a monopoly, so the fighters don’t have much power. They can’t really talk because if one says what he thinks, he will get punished.”
“If we want the sport to be accepted worldwide, like baseball, hockey, football, soccer, I believe [drug testing] is the thing to do. I think it’s just a matter of time before it happens, it’s just that I tried to make it happen now. Maybe they didn’t like the idea because if I did it now, it would lead to others doing it and maybe that’s not something they wanted to happen.”
“It disappointed me. You know that there are things I can’t say. I’m holding back. I’m a public person.”
“No [one] wants to talk about [drugs in MMA], but I think we need to talk about it. It’s a problem.”
“I wanted to remain diplomatic, but unfortunately there were people who weren’t ready to change things. I’m certain it’s a question of time. And maybe if things change one day, I’ll return.”
January 15th, 2014 – Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC CEO, responds to GSP’s comments and accusations about the UFC and its supposed monopoly:
“It was extremely disappointing to hear Georges make those comments because I don’t think any organization has embraced drug testing as we have. We have not only agreed to pay when the commission has said it wants to do enhanced testing, we’ve encouraged it. We have no problem with testing. When we serve as the commission [in areas where there is no commission], we test everyone on the card so we are thorough and there can be no claims of bias.”
“Whatever a commission would want us to do in terms of testing, we would embrace it. We’ll do as many as they want. I think perhaps Georges’ people didn’t communicate to him in detail everything we’d do as they tried to arrange the testing for the fight with him and Johnny.”
January 4th, 2014 – …. Oh boy.
During the UFC Fight Night 35 post-fight press conference, a reporter made the mistake of asking Dana for his opinion on the comments being made by St-Pierre in his recent interviews. The UFC President immediately went into “Dana smash!” mode, unleashing an unfiltered rant on the subject to anyone within earshot:
“First of all, I don’t know if anybody remembers this but GSP said he wanted to do the extra drug testing to prove that he wasn’t on drugs. It wasn’t that he thought Johny Hendricks was on steroids or any PEDs, he wanted to do this. And just like you see in boxing like I said it was ridiculous for these guys to be doing this— first of all you see it in boxing all the time. One guy comes out and says ‘I want to do extra drug testing because I’m worried about this guy. I wanna see what’s going on,’. They never come to an agreement! This guy says ‘I wanna use this one’ that guy says ‘I wanna use that one’,” White ranted.
“Also for him to say we’re lenient on drug testing, when we go out of the country and we regulate ourselves, we test EVERYBODY on the card. Not just the main-event. Not just the co main-event. You wanna talk about being lenient? The fight that I was screaming about that was the greatest fight I’ve ever seen [Mark Hunt and Big Foot Silva]— we tested the guys for that fight. We caught Big Foot Silva and he got destroyed. Literally got destroyed for going over the limit.” White stated. “Vitor Belfort, Big Foot Silva, any of these guys who are on TRT we test them throughout the whole camp. What we did for Big Foot was the week of the fight we took a test and his numbers were fine. He took a shot after he got tested. So, we tested him again after and his levels were through the roof and he got destroyed. He lost the win money that we gave him. He lost the bonus money that we gave him. And he’s suspended for a year.”
“So if that’s lenient on drugs… I guess we’re lenient.”
“I mean I don’t even know what to say to it. What I heard is Georges St. Pierre is upset about some of the things I said at the press conference. He’s upset that I said that he didn’t win the fight— that I thought Johny Hendricks won the fight. But if that’s the case, call me man to man. Let’s talk on the phone. Let’s sit down face-to-face. I talked to him after the fight face-to-face and he didn’t say a thing to me so the whole thing is a little weird.”
“That’s the other thing, too. I’m here— I’ve been in Atlanta on planes doing all sorts of stuff. Lorenzo reached out to him and still hasn’t heard from him yet. If Georges St. Pierre wants to talk like a man, he can pick up the phone and call us or come see us face to face. But everything that he said is ridiculous.”
“And the other thing he said to me, that we’re a monopoly? Viacom is our competitor. They have a forty billion dollar market-cap. Forty billion dollars. I’m never going to see forty billion dollars as long as I live. Neither will the UFC. So, we’re not a monopoly either. Everything that St. Pierre said is a little cooky.”
“GSP has been accused his whole career. That’s why he wanted to do the drug testing. He has been with the UFC for ten years. He defended his title nine times. Have you ever seen him try to do any extra drug testing or say ‘Hey I wanna do extra. I wanna do this, I wanna do that.” Never. And this time was supposed to be to prove he wasn’t doing it. And for the record, GSP has never tested for positive for anything in his whole career. And he’s been tested ’cause most of his fights inside the UFC were title fights.”
There you have it, folks. The (somewhat) complete timeline of events in this little back-and-forth fiasco. No matter whose side you’re on here, it will be interesting to see where this leads. If cooler heads don’t prevail sooner rather than later, we might end up seeing some irrevocable damage being done to St-Pierre and Dana White’s relationship. And considering that St-Pierre is still unsure if he will ever return to UFC competition, this added stress and drama might end up being the downfall of St-Pierre’s MMA future.
Time will tell.