B.J. Penn. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
If you thought that the war between Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn was over, think again. Penn’s camp has informed Sherdog.com that they intend to file a formal complaint with the Nevada State Athletic Commission after officials spotted one of St. Pierre’s cornermen allegedly rubbed Vaseline on his back in between the first and second and then the second and third rounds.
“We are not trying to make excuses, but the NSAC needs to protect the fighters,” Penn told Sherdog.com via text message. “They never notified us or completely wiped his back with water and towels.”
Various reports are circulating that following the conclusion of the first round, Phil Nurse, who has been working St. Pierre’s corner for a number of years, was caught by someone sitting at ringside rubbing Vaseline on St. Pierre’s back and shoulders. It has yet to be confirmed that this person was former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, but “The Iceman” was the first to inform UFC President Dana White of the incident after the conclusion of the fight, which St. Pierre won via fourth-round doctor’s stoppage.
Members of the commission, including executive director Keith Kizer, entered the cage and asked Nurse to stop. They then took a towel and rubbed St. Pierre’s back down. When Nurse was apparently seen doing the same thing again after the second round, NSAC officials once again gave Nurse a warning.
Greg Jackson, St. Pierre’s head trainer for the past year and a half, told MMA Weekly that Nurse was only doing something that has been done during every fight that St. Pierre has participated in for the last handful of years - a drill invented by notable MMA “witch doctor” Steve Friend.
“So in between rounds, (Friend) had this little drill that you do – and Phil Nurse is the one who knows how to do it – he showed Phil, and this is what Georges wanted, so we did that,” Jackson told MMA Weekly. “But this is why we were doing it. He rubbed your back and tapped your chest; I don’t know exactly how it works. But anyways, what that’s supposed to do is get your energy in line, or motivated or whatever. So in between rounds, we had Phil Nurse do that.”
“The controversy came because Phil Nurse also was putting Vasoline on Georges’ eyebrows. So Phil Nurse put all the Vasoline on his face, so his hands might have had a miniscule amount left over from that, when he went around the side and rubbed a little point on his back, and tapped on his chest. At that point, somebody in the audience thought we were greasing George down, and ran over and told the commission that we were greasing his body down. They said ‘you’re putting Vasoline on his back,’ and Phil’s like, ‘oh, there might be a little on my fingers, but it wasn’t intentional at all, and of course they wiped it right off and it was gone, so it wasn’t a factor in the fight at all.”
UFC President Dana White indicated after the event that the accusations laid upon Nurse and company are very serious that he expects the state of Nevada to undergo a full investigation as well as hand out strict punishment to those involved.
Machida’s Fate Depdendent on Quinton Jackson
After winning his first six fights in the UFC, which including dominating performances against Thiago Silva this past weekend and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz last May, Lyoto Machida has made it known that he would like a shot at the UFC’s 205 lb title in the near future.
Dana White agrees, but made it known at the post-fight press conference for UFC 94 that Machida will have to wait until the result of former light heavyweight king Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s scheduled matchup against Keith Jardine in March before his future is decided.
“He asked me if we were going to wait until Jardine and Rampage, and I said yes,” White explained to a reporter early Sunday morning.
If Jackson is victorious against Jardine at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio, he would become the first challenger for newly-crowned light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who stole the belt from Forrest Griffin at the UFC’s year-end event less than two months ago. But if Jardine comes away the winner, it will likely be Machida that gets his long-awaited shot at championship gold.
St. Pierre Still Not Top Pound-for-Pound in White’s Book
Despite his resounding win over Penn on Saturday night, St. Pierre still isn’t at the top of Dana White’s pound-for-pound list. It’s Anderson Silva that remains there.
“I would say right now Georges is second,” White said concerning his pound-for-pound rankings. “Anderson Silva is still at the top. He’s been decimating guys for a while now. Georges has Thiago Alves next and if he beats him, he’s definitely on his way.”
With St. Pierre and Silva both continuing to win and win in devastating fashion, a potential showdown between the two at 185 lbs remains on the UFC’s docket. It’s a sure-fire win-win situation for the UFC in terms of PPV buys and public interest that they refuse to ignore.
“What I think we should do is have guys stay in their weight classes for a while, but I’m a fan of super-fights,” White said asked about the possibility of the matchup. “If these guys continue to do what they are doing and keep on fighting, then yeah, we could see that.”
White Set to Tap Into Japanese Market
Longtime Japanese pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto was a surprise guest in White’s popular video blogs early last week, leading many to speculate that Yamamoto could be headed to World Extreme Cagefighting’s featherweight division in the near future.
White confirmed Zuffa’s interest in Yamamoto as well as that of a few other notable Japanese fighters during Sunday morning’s press conference with the media.
I’ve been a Kid Yamamoto fan for a long time. I’d love to get him over here,” White said. “He has two fights left on his K-1 contract and he told me that his dream is to end his career over here with us, so I’d like to see it happen.”
“Caol Uno… I love him. He’ll always be a part of the UFC and we’re talking to him too, and the same goes for Ishii also. The Japanese market has always been important to me. It’s always been a tough place to navigate, but we’re going to do it anyway. That will not stop me from going into Japan.”
More UFC Primetime Shows Expected in Future
The UFC’s “Primetime” shows in the weeks leading up to the St. Pierre-Penn rematch were a huge success for both the organization and Spike TV, leaving no doubt as to more of them in the future. According to White, the experience was great and will likely continue.
“I thought it went well. It was a good experience,” White said concerning the taping of the show. “Obviously me and B.J. got into a fight, but other than that, yeah, it was good. We’ll do it again. I think we would save “Primetime” for only a couple of the big fights of the year… maybe three at the most.”
White though, was unsure about the prospects of a “Primetime” series for the upcoming UFC heavyweight title unification rematch between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir in May.
“I’ll have to think about it,” White said.
St. Pierre, Penn Already Given Opponents for Title Defenses
Dana White confirmed at the post-fight press conference that as expected, Georges St. Pierre will defend his UFC welterweight title next against Thiago Alves, who came into the cage to congratulate him after his victory, and B.J. Penn will drop back down to 155 lbs to defend his lightweight belt against Kenny Florian.
White however, would not reveal a timetable concerning potential dates for the respective fights.
“I have no idea right now,” White said. “I haven’t talked to Georges yet. I have no idea how he’s feeling. I’m sure that after this B.J. is going to go back to Hawaii, rest up, think about what he did wrong in the fight, and then he’ll be back to defend against Kenny.”
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