Georges St-Pierre isn't interested in any exemption.
The former UFC welterweight champion told Bloody Elbow in an interview this week that he has enrolled in the USADA drug-testing program ahead of his impending UFC comeback.
Unlike the waiver granted by the UFC to Brock Lesnar absolving him of four months of testing after coming out of retirement and before stepping in the Octagon, St-Pierre said he wanted to do things by the book. GSP said he'll be enrolled in the UFC's anti-doping program beginning Wednesday.
"I don't want to be an exception, because I was very outspoken about performance-enhancing drugs," St-Pierre told writer Ram Gilboa. It would be bad for my reputation if I would have an exemption — I don't want to have a free pass, I want to be like everybody else. That's why I'll be starting the process Aug 10. I don't have any fight yet, but it's gonna happen now, because I'm getting tested, if I'm getting tested it's for a reason."
St-Pierre, 34, said he did not have a contract in place yet with the UFC, but is negotiating through his agent Mike Fonseca of Creative Artists Agency, the powerhouse Hollywood firm. GSP said the UFC offered him and then his team counter-offered, but it was the day before it was announced the UFC had sold to a group led by WME-IMG. So, things went into a holding pattern. The talks have started up again now, he said.
"We waited for a few days, to see what was going on, because even some of the employees were afraid of losing their job — even some of the high ranking people in the UFC were afraid," St-Pierre said. "We wanted to let the management to take care of their own company first, and then see what happens."
The Canadian star, one of the greatest fighters and financial draws in the history of the sport, said the UFC initially spoke to him about fighting Michael Bisping in Toronto. There is an event rumored for that city toward the end of the year. Bisping, though, will face Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in England on Oct. 8, so that fight is now off the table.
Bisping wanted the Henderson fight to avenge his 2009 knockout loss to "Hendo" at UFC 100, GSP said. And that's something St-Pierre gets completely.
"He's a proud athlete, and I'm a proud fighter, too," St-Pierre said. "And I have lost fights before, and for me that was important to avenge losses. If you want to be a proud person, then you want to avenge your loss. For me it was [Matt] Serra and [Matt] Hughes, and for Michael Bisping, Henderson is one of his losses — one of his most painful losses. So I understand why he wants to avenge it. As an athlete I understand. So that's why that fight did not happen."
UFC president Dana White said recently that he truly believes that St-Pierre will not return to the Octagon. St-Pierre, who has not fought since going on hiatus and relinquishing his UFC welterweight title in 2013, believes White is saying that as a negotiating ploy.
"Dana White came out very often in public saying I'm this and that," St-Pierre said. "I'm sure it's also to play with my ego, to make me, for example, come out of retirement and say ‘Oh ok, I'll fight for peanuts.' No, I'm not like that. I know the game."
GSP is coming back, he said — provided the UFC pays him what he believes he deserves. And if that happens, it seems like St-Pierre could be back in the Octagon before long.
"I would like to say, they need to make sure they take care and negotiate the problems," GSP said. "You know, I have a very good agent with me. The fighters, they complain they're not getting paid a lot, they get exploited sometimes; The UFC runs a business, but it's also the fault of a lot of the fighters — they accept any fight, they will sign anything. They have to look at their career as a business as well. They have to hire some confident people to do that job. I'm an athlete, my job is not negotiating, it's not my field of expertise. I'm an emotional guy — it's normal, a lot of athletes are, and we're very susceptible to get our ego cut because of that."