Team Hendricks & The NSAC Agree, GSP’s Drug Testing Inquisitions Raise Red Flags
UFC welterweight title contender, Johny Hendricks, was accused last week of refusing to partake in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency’s enhanced drug screening leading up to his title fight against welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre in November. Now, Hendricks’ team has come out explaining why they refused VADA. The main reason, it seems, is that the champ’s team has refused to play ball.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
With just over two months before their UFC 167 welterweight title fight, Johny Hendricks and Georges St-Pierre cannot agree on something they verbally committed to in July: enhanced, third-party drug testing.
According to Hendricks’ manager, Ted Ehrhardt, St-Pierre has a connection with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) that raised concerns.
“GSP asked if we would drug test,” Ehrhardt told Bloody Elbow. “He didn’t say VADA or anything else at first, he just asked for drug testing and Johny said, ‘Of course I’ll drug test.’ Then [GSP] said VADA, and then it came to us that VADA is giving the testing to him for free.
“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, and we’re fighting in Nevada, so they’re the commission, we talked to both of them. We did a conference call with GSP’s manager and trainer, the Nevada commission, UFC representative and myself; and we talked about him wanting us to do VADA.”
According to Ehrhardt, during this conference call the Nevada State Athletic Commission suggested the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) conduct the drug tests, an idea to which everyone initially agreed.
“ A week later,” Ehrhardt explained, “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? We didn’t ask one question. We were just ready to test WADA, that’s what we wanted to do, and he didn’t want to.”
MMAJunkie.com spoke with Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director, Keith Kizer, about these interactions. He said that the behavior of GSP’s team certainly raised some red flags.
“They were asking, ‘Well, what do you test for?’ My answer is always the same: we test for prohibited substances as listed on the WADA list. [They said,] ‘Well, what does that mean? Does that mean HGH, does that mean this, does that mean that? Yes, it means it all. The answer then should have been, ‘OK.’”
Kizer went on to explain further discussion he had with one of St-Pierre’s lawyers, Rodolphe Beaulieu, in which Beaulieu insisted on VADA testing.
“Ok, fine, use VADA. That’s not the question,” Kizer had told Beaulieu. “The question is do you want to do outside testing through the athletic commission? And basically, they said we want to know all the tests you do so Georges’ medical advisors can vet the test before we decide. I said, ‘I will take that as a no. We will let you know if we’re going to do any testing on our own. Goodbye.’”
Of course, according to Kizer, that wasn’t the end of it.
“The guy actually had the gall – this Rodolphe [Beaulieu] guy – [to say,] ‘Well, no, that’s not what we meant. We’re happy to do it once we get this additional information, but I’m going to be [gone] for the next seven days, and I’m unavailable via cell phone or email.’ It’s like, whatever dude. It was so ridiculous. But I don’t hold any of that against Georges St-Pierre. As far as I know, he doesn’t even know about these things.
“I don’t know if it’s just his people being overly aggressive, or trying to act as agents of VADA – I have no clue, and I don’t care. But when an athlete’s representative is basically saying, ‘Well, he’s interested in perhaps doing enhanced testing, but we need to know – and more importantly, his medical advisors need to know – all the ins and outs of the testing before he’ll agree to it,’ that’s a no. That’s a refusal, and that’s fine.”
While Kizer seemed perturbed by St-Pierre’s handlers, he said it has nothing to do with the fighters, their individual histories with the Nevada commission, nor does it hold any implication toward their careers.
“I’m not looking to being used in this pissing match with these athletes saying, ‘I’m going to do this enhanced testing. If my opponent doesn’t, that means he’s dirty.’ Now, it doesn’t. If they want to play those games, that’s between them. I’m not going to take any sides. Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks have both been great licensees in the past. I expect them to be great licensees in the future. But they definitely both will be tested by the commission. How often, and when, is up to us.”
One thing is certain about UFC 167: a lot of tension has been building up to this fight, given Hendricks’ long-standing accusations that GSP has avoided their fight. Whether anything comes of these accusations surrounding additional testing remains to be seen; but at the very least, it is clear that the world will be watching the lead-up to this fight with bated breath and utmost interest.