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Georges St-Pierre: UFC’s anti-doping efforts looking ‘pretty good so far’

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

MONTREAL – Just because Montreal native Georges St-Pierre happens to be idle this time as the UFC makes its way through his home city, it doesn’t mean he’s not part of Fight Week. On Friday, the former welterweight champion hosted a Q&A at Metropolis for a packed house of fans. And before that he spent 15 minutes talking with the media about what he’s  up to currently.

And though St-Pierre said he didn’t have any immediate plans to return to the Octagon, he did say that his knee is back to 100 percent and he’s training again.

"I got the go from the doctor," he said. "The last time I got an ACL surgery on my right leg I was in a rush when I was fighting Carlos Condit. This time I’m taking my time. I’m not in a rush, and I don’t have any fights scheduled. It was more relaxed, so I was able to breathe a little bit more. And yeah, I’m back training the gym on a regular basis."

St-Pierre walked away from active competition in 2013 after defending his title against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. He forfeited his belt, which now belongs to Robbie Lawler, who fights St-Pierre’s training partner Rory MacDonald in July at UFC 189. St-Pierre said that he will be helping prepare MacDonald for that title fight, and that the future of the welterweight division belongs to his protégé.

St-Pierre cited fatigue, anxiety and a loss of desire as the reasons he walked away from the UFC at 31 years old. It has since gotten more complicated than that, as St-Pierre has staunchly made it clear he thought that there was a drug problem in MMA. When he was fighting Hendricks, St-Pierre was upset at the UFC’s handling of his request for out-of-competition testing. He said he would only return to the UFC if the problem was addressed.

With the UFC now implementing third party out-of-competition testing for all fighters beginning in July, as well as hiring the anti-doping expert/BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky as its Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, the UFC is taking the steps St-Pierre hoped they would.

When asked if he’d sit down with UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta while they visit Montreal, St-Pierre said he already met with the UFC brass.

"We had a meeting with the UFC yesterday," he said. "They hired someone for anti-doping testing, so it looked pretty good. I don’t have much to tell about it, they didn’t tell enough about the program about what they want to do, but [Novitzky] is a very reliable man in the business. He’s the one that caught [Olympic medalist] Marion Jones. So it looked really good so far, but like I said, I don’t have enough to tell right now, and I’m not a specialist. I need to see and ask a specialist what they think about it."

Another potential snag for St-Pierre’s return could be in the new sponsorship deal that the UFC reach with Reebok this past December. In July, all UFC fighters will wear Reebok gear, and be paid on a tier-system based on overall experience (the number of fights). As a longtime client of Under Armour, St-Pierre was asked how that would affect him if he came back.

"It’s a good question," he said. "I’ve thought about it, but it’s not up to me – it’s not my field of expertise. I’m sure if something happened my manager will make it work out. It’s not my level of expertise. I’m not a lawyer, you know. It’s a very delicate question.

"It depends on what’s going to happen. I don’t know what it implies. I haven’t talked to my manager, so we’re not sure 100 percent about that. Depends on what’s in the contract, what I’m allowed, what I’m not allowed. There’s a bunch of questions."

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