Since announcing his indefinite leave of absence from mixed martial arts in late-2013, former UFC welterweight Georges St-Pierre has spearheaded the charge for a more rigorous drug testing program which would curb the pervasiveness of performance enhancing drug (PED) use in the sport.
St-Pierre's criticism of the current system has extended from the UFC itself to the ineffectiveness of state athletic commissions, although through in all, UFC President Dana White has maintained that St-Pierre's decision to leave MMA was due to "personal problems," rather than his stance on PEDs, with White most recently reiterating that claim to reporters last week in Dallas and stating that he "knows for a fact" that St-Pierre will return.
St-Pierre, though, takes exception with White's characterization of the situation, along with the assertion that St-Pierre never personally mentioned his concerns to UFC officials before airing them publicly.
"I said it even before when I met with them (White and Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta). This, I swear," St-Pierre insisted on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I met them after my fight with Johny Hendricks when I went in the back. I said that to them. I said it to them, I swear on myself and my family.
"So when they say I never said it, that I said it publicly before I said it to them, I said it to them first."
In the lead-up to UFC 171, White dismissed the role that St-Pierre's grievances over widespread PED abuse played in the Canadian's exit from the sport, stating that "a lot of that stuff got blown out of proportion" and that St-Pierre was gone solely "because of the reason he sat down with me and Lorenzo that night and told us," which White attributed to St-Pierre aforementioned personal issues.
Though while St-Pierre agrees that those issues did indeed play a part in his decision, ultimately, he says, they were only one piece of a much larger pie.
"I have personal issues. And also the drug testing has something to do with it," St- Pierre said. "This is the truth. I said it first. And I cannot use the kind of language I would like to use, in the way that I told them, because I did not use the right language, very nice language when I said that to them. I made references to very bad things and I cannot tell you the way that I said it because I never want to accuse one individual.
"They were not surprised. I don't believed they were surprised. I told them and they were like, ‘oh, you think so?' I was like, yeah, I know for a fact.
"Lorenzo is a good person," St-Pierre continued. "Lorenzo understands that it's true. I believe the problem is not the UFC, it's the system. It's a new sport, and the last thing I want is to hurt the UFC. I just want to elevate the sport. I think it's the next step for elevating the sport, that it should be done.
"The system is not in place. There are no guidelines. The way they test now, it's not good. It's not good the way they test. If you get caught on steroids right now, it's because you're very disorganized. It's so easy to beat the test. It's ridiculous. It's not a real test."
St-Pierre made it clear that while he's not trying to attack the UFC, he's frustrated by what he perceives to be the organization's reluctance to implement change which could go a long way towards cleaning up the sport.
"I'm part of the family in the UFC, but I want more of the UFC," he said. "I think it's something they should do because a lot of other athletes who are not interested in my sport, the first thing they say when they look at mixed martial arts is that big cliché, the stereotype, these guys all have tattoos and they take steroids.
"There needs to be random testing by an independent organization that has no interest in the money for the fight. That's how it should be done. That's how it is in any other sport," St-Pierre explained.
"If the UFC changed something, it's going to change everything, because the UFC is like Vaseline, it's like Q-tips. Now when people think about mixed martial arts, they don't even say mixed martial arts. They say UFC, because the UFC is the biggest and the most prestigious organization."
St-Pierre was also asked about his recent comments regarding the UFC being a "monopoly," and whether he has any interest in assisting in the creation of a fighter's union which could look out for the interests of his fellow fighters.
"I don't want to do anything bad to the UFC," St-Pierre responded. "I'm proud of the UFC, I support the UFC, and this has been really misunderstood. The reason why I came out was to help the UFC. I said it to the UFC and it's the truth."
At age 32, it's likely that St-Pierre could continue to compete at a high level in the sport for several years if he so chose. However, after sitting idly by for years, St-Pierre says, he would now only return to MMA if and when his concerns over the pervasiveness of PED use are handily addressed.
"Me, personally, I'm not interested in coming back if there's nothing done in that regard," St-Pierre said.
"I'm not at peace to fight like this. The only thing I regret now is, this thing, I should have done it better. I should have done it before. I should have done it before this, because this has been bothering me for a long time, and I never said anything. But I should have done this long before. Because I had money. I could have paid for the VADA tests earlier. I should have done that before."