BJ Penn’s claim that Georges St. Pierre’s corner cheated during their Jan. 31 UFC fight are unfounded and “desperate,” St. Pierre’s camp said in a letter received by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
The letter, delivered Wednesday, labels the allegations “nothing more than Mr. Penn’s desperate attempt to protect his reputation and commercial value after being totally dominated by a superior athlete.”
St. Pierre’s side was responding to a recent letter from Penn’s attorney that requested an investigation by the commission. NAC executive director Keith Kizer said a review of the fight would be put on the agenda for the commission’s March 17 meeting.
In the welterweight championship fight at the MGM Grand Garden, St. Pierre retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship title by dominating Penn for four rounds before the fight was stopped by the ringside physician.
Controversy arose because a commission observer saw one of St. Pierre’s cornermen apply Vaseline to the fighter’s face and then rub his back and shoulders. It is against commission rules to apply Vaseline anywhere but the face, mainly because it can make the fighter slippery and less vulnerable to certain mixed martial arts maneuvers.
St. Pierre’s side said any application of Vaseline to the body occurred accidentally while the fighter was performing a breathing exercise.
“… We can assure you and the commission that no illicit, illegal or dishonest activity was intended or occurred,” the response letter stated.
UFC president Dana Whitewas not as quick to dismiss the alleged misconduct, saying, “The guy rubbed (expletive) Vaseline on him.”
White said he wants all rules to be followed, and that St. Pierre’s corner needlessly caused a shadow to be cast over what otherwise would be a great victory for the fighter.
“I’m not trying to cover anything. I don’t want to taint Georges’ win,” White said. “At the end of the day, you put Vaseline on him when you didn’t (expletive) need Vaseline on him. He was winning the fight dominantly.”
Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@ reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.