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By: Alex Williams, MMATorch Contributor Jamie already posted his thoughts on the controversy over GSP's cornerman rubbing Vaseline on St. Pierre's shoulders between rounds. My friend Ivan Trembow has a good summary of what exactly happened here.
Part of having a nice editor like Jamie is that I don't feel pressure to always agree with him. In this case, I think the story deserves more attention than Jamie does.
"No matter what's been said and no matter what anyone wants to say that they 'saw,' the fact of the matter is GSP dominated B.J. Penn in a way no amount of 'greasing' would have caused."
I agree with Jamie that GSP dominated in such a manner that he would have won the fight anyway. However, this belief does not make the issue of the Vaseline use a non-story. As Ivan writes:
"They are two different situations, but the stand-up agreement in the fight between Seth Petruzelli and Kimbo Slice didn't affect the outcome of that fight because Petruzelli won by knockout anyway in 14 seconds. Were people saying after that fight, 'It didn't affect the outcome of the fight, so it's a non-issue that we should all stop talking about'? Of course not . . .”
Jamie also writes:
"When it was on the ground, he passed B.J.'s guard with ease to maintain side control. His lower body, not his chest or shoulders, is what had to slide away from B.J.'s guard."
Regardless of how GSP had to pass BJ's guard, there were moments in the fight when Penn attempted to work a rubber guard, trying to put his legs on GSP's upper back/neck. He was generally unable to do so, and it was this ineffectiveness that initially caused BJ's corner to question if St. Pierre was greased. The GIFs below all came from the second round, when none of the Vaseline had been wiped off of GSP yet:
BJ took a lot of damage in that second round. He looked like a beaten man by the third. How much damage could BJ have saved himself, and what trouble might he have put GSP in if Vaseline had not been a part of the equation? Again, the fight would have likely ended in GSP's favor still, but it should bother us that we don't know the answers to those questions.
Finally, it's worth noting that this is not the first time GSP has been accused of greasing. It has been pointed out on The UG forum that Sean Sherk claimed GSP felt greasy in an interview on the UFC 56 DVD. Matt Hughes wrote today that St. Pierre felt greasy in their latter two fights. Hughes and Penn's coach Rudy Valentino say that Matt Serra had the same complaint after his bout with St. Pierre. Old GSP foe Jason "Mayhem" Miller reposted an article he wrote several years ago in which he described fighting in a "mega" event against an opponent he believed was greased. Given the description in the article, one is led to believe that he is referring to his bout with St. Pierre. I cannot imagine that he would have reposted this article at this time if it wasn't GSP that he wrote about.
Assuming that Miller was referring to GSP, that makes four fighters (Penn, Sherk, Hughes, and Miller) who have publicly stated St. Pierre felt greasy. Of those, two of them (Sherk and Miller) made their claims years before there was any controversy. What is more, two sources say that Matt Serra said the same thing about St. Pierre. Perhaps all of this can just be written off as the sour grapes of defeated opponents, but how many other prominent fighters have been accused multiple times of greasing?**
The latest word is that Penn's camp will not file a complaint with the NSAC. If they don't, the story might very well die quickly. But that doesn't mean it should.
**As for GSP's team, another Greg Jackson-coached fighter, Rashad Evans, had the grease claim leveled against him by Tito Ortiz in the post-fight press conference for their match.
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