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Enough Already



“GSP is a cheater”

“BJ is a whining bitch”

It doesn’t matter what you call it. It doesn’t matter where you stand on whatever transpired at UFC 94. Mayhem coming forward and referencing his FIGHT! article from months ago is irrelevant. Serra’s comments carry no weight. The fact remains that Georges St. Pierre is going to keep his belt and the victory is going to stand.

Everybody can bitch about it all day and take sides, but you need hard evidence to convict somebody in criminal court. Similarly, you need hard evidence to prove someone guilty for cheating in professional sports. Whether you like it or not, that’s the reason steroid testing is given so much weight in athletics: there is a strict way to measure violations and to prove an athlete guilty or innocent. Sure, the system isn’t perfect (Sean Sherk will attest to that to anyone within earshot) but it’s pretty close.

In this situation, there is no way of looking at GSP’s urinalysis to see if there was an abundance of vaseline on his skin. We can’t check his blood tests to know to what extent he was “greased up.” A fighter (or two or three or four) saying that the French-Canadian was a little too slippery is simply hearsay an allegation until it’s proven. It might sway the court of public opinion in some cases but it will do nothing to overturn the ruling of a contest. Whether accusations are made before a fight or after a fight is irrelevant; one would think that when an allegation is made those with the power to do so would check into it to see if there is any validity. That is all we can hope for.

Sam Caplan brings up an interesting point over at Five Ounces. “If a fighter uses a supplement that contains steroids is it not the position of the commission that he’s still guilty whether he knowingly consumed the performance enhancing drugs because of the fact that he still had a competitive advantage?” While the logic here makes sense, the fault lies in the fact that the rule itself is inherently flawed. If a rule is standard, it should be applied without prejudice to all situations. But, if the rule itself is flawed, we should be working to get it changed and, in the meantime, ensure that it is used as sparingly as possible.

If a fighter is found to have an illegal performance enhancing substance in their system, it is only just that the fight be ruled a No Contest. At the same time, when it comes to fines or any form of disciplinary suspension, those are punishments to be given out to wrongdoers — meaning those who knowingly engaged in some type of corrupt or deviant conduct. The rule needs to be altered to protect fighters who unknowingly ingest an illegal substance from an over the counter product from receiving fines and suspensions. The second part would involve being able to quantify the offense in some form, as done with steroids — which we have no way of doing. Let me also point out that you can wipe vaseline off of a person’s back but you can’t suck elevated testosterone levels out of a fighters body. No knowledge on the fighters behalf (from what we know) coupled with no way of quantifying the offense distinguishes this situation from anything you will see involving steroids.

The athletic commission intervened and had GSP cleaned off. He then went out and won in convincing fashion. Did his corner rub him down with vaseline on purpose? There’s no way of knowing. If they did, was GSP aware of the wrongdoing? There’s no way of knowing. There’s more than a few fighters who have made these allegations in the past, so has this been going on for a while? There’s no way of knowing. To what extent did this factor into GSP’s win? There’s no way of knowing, but most agree little if any.

The only by-product of this situation is going to be endless debate among the hardcore fans as to what happened and what should happen. Save yourselves some time. There’s too many unanswered questions to know for sure what happened. As to what should happen, it’s irrelevant because GSP is going to keep his belt and the victory will hold on his record. If he goes out and destroys Thiago Alves in a few months, no one will even be talking about this again.