Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre had quite the interview with Michael Landsberg of TSN's Off The Record. When the discussion quickly steered towards his concerns over an expanding culture of performance enhancing drug use in MMA, St-Pierre says he isn't interested in a witch hunt. Although he refuses to name names, St-Pierre believes he's faced at least a few opponents using some sort of steroid.
"I can not answer this question, but there [are] a lot of people on drugs," says St-Pierre. "I'm never sure 100%. The reason is I don't want to accuse any individual. If you accuse one individual 20 others will arrive. What I want to attack? I want to attack the system. I don't want to attack the individual. People have to understand, I don't want to attack the UFC. I'm one of the guys that stands for the sport, stands for the UFC. I want to do that to help the brand, help the sport. I'm one of the guys that fights for the legitimacy of my sport.
"I think right now there is a big problem. When I came out with this I got so many text messages from guys who are afraid to speak. Not even fighters, reporters are afraid to lose their credentials, but they tell me 'You're doing the right thing. We support you.'"
While St-Pierre and UFC president Dana White have done most of their communicating through the proxy of interviews, it seems GSP has found UFC CEO and owner Lorenzo Fertitta to be a bit more responsive to his concerns.
"I had a talk with Lorenzo and I think it's going to be a good thing. It's going to be a lot of change and it's going to be all good for the sport. I think it's the next step for us to reach even more people, to be more legitimate. It's a new sport.
"Lorenzo is the boss. You have to understand, I'm not afraid or mad at Dana. Dana is the promoter. He said stuff and I don't take it personally. Dana is the business guy. He's a promoter and it's his role as a business man to want to make a rematch [with Johny Hendricks] because it will attract a lot of people. That's his role. He doesn't care if you like it or love it or hate it, he wants you to tune in. That's the main role of Dana White. He did it well. Everyone reacted. He doesn't care if people say, 'Oh he's so bad!' No, he's not. He's a promoter. Probably the best promoter in the world right now, of all sports."
As for St-Pierre's self-imposed hiatus from MMA, the former champion says the weight of being the UFC's posterboy had finally reached a breaking point.
"I don't want to have a psychologist or help to keep me on the right track. The stress was eating me alive. Few people can understand this so I needed to step out of it to feel better and to find enjoyment in my life. Now I do.
"It's not a retirement. I would call it more of a break because I don't know if I will retire or not right now. I just knew I needed a break from the competition. I started doing it for fun. Then the fun became a business. Then it was not fun anymore. It was too much pressure."
Ultimately, St-Pierre seems to blame his own neurosis for needing to step away from the sport he worked so hard to help build.
"I'm a perfectionist. People that know me, they know I'm a little bit off. I'm OCD. I want everything to be done perfectly. Because of that I put so much into my work. I became obsessed. I'm a crazy obsessive person about what I do. I want it to be 100%, which is a good thing but it's also a bad thing. It can drive you crazy. That's what was happening to me. I needed to just step off. Not think about fighting. I don't regret it for a second. I've never been a victim in my life."