Coach: GSP Struggled with Middleweight Move, Dealt with Severe Stomach Pains, Vomiting

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 10, 2017


While Georges St. Pierre’s move to middleweight ultimately proved to be a success at UFC 217, the transition was not without its difficulties.

John Danaher, St. Pierre’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach, said the program created to facilitate a significant weight gain for the ex-welterweight champion was oftentimes a “disaster.”

“The victory by welterweight Georges St. Pierre at middleweight to gain a new world title was a bold experiment with a truly great result, but was not without its problems,” Danaher wrote on Instagram. “The fundamental problem was always going to be size. Mr. St. Pierre always walked into the Octagon around 189 pounds on fight night throughout his career. This made him a very averaged sized welterweight. In order to move up to middleweight, Mr. St. Pierre took on a nutritional program designed to facilitate weight gain and hold weight during the rigors of a full fight camp. The result was a disaster.”

In his first mixed martial arts bout in four years, St. Pierre captured 185-pound gold with a third-round submission of Michael Bisping in the UFC 217 headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York. When “Rush” spoke of a potential transition in the past, he said he would need the right amount of time to put on the necessary muscle to move up to middleweight.

According to Danaher, those efforts led to numerous issues during St. Pierre’s training camp ahead of UFC 217.

“Two weeks into camp he developed severe stomach pains and vomiting. Initially it was suspected that he had an illness, but all tests came back negative. The situation deteriorated to the point that for two weeks of a six week camp there was no training at all,” Danaher wrote. “At a critical point we gave him a two day window to either get back in the gym or call off the fight. The first grappling workout he had he vomited heavily prior to workout and then went to work. The next day he had the worst standing sparring session I have ever seen him have. Finally the stomach issue issue resolved itself to a degree where he could train satisfactorily and the workouts improved dramatically — though the vomiting continued all the way up to the day of the fight.”

While St. Pierre appeared to be larger than his previous form come fight night, Danaher said that this was not actually the case. Following his weight cut, Danaher said, St. Pierre was only able to enter the Octagon as a “mid-sized welterweight.”

“He was eating so much more than usual in an attempt to keep weight on and stay close to 200 pounds. When he went through the final weight cut the big question was, would he return to his bigger size? The answer was a resounding no. On fight night he weighed in at 190.5 — almost identical to his usual fight weight as a welterweight,” Danaher continued. “The great effort to increase size just didn’t work out and Mr St. Pierre went in to win the title as a mid-sized welterweight. It seems his body just finds a comfort zone around 190 pounds for fighting after a weight cut and no amount of work to change that has any effect. It’s one thing to gain weight, it’s another to do so through a fight camp culminating in a weight cut and then regain the weight. It seems his body has an optimal weight for athletic performance which cannot be drastically changed.”

Danaher’s revelation makes it seem less likely that St. Pierre will remain at middleweight to defend the title he just won. During a recent media call, the Tristar Gym standout claimed that he was contractually obligated to face interim 185-pound titlist Robert Whittaker next and that he would not be “freezing the division.” However, that statement also included the caveat “if I want to fight again.”

“We’ll see what I want to do and where my head is. I have no intention of holding onto the belt and freezing the division. That’s not what I want to do,” St. Pierre said “Robert Whittaker is in my contract. If I want to fight again, it has to be against Robert Whittaker at 185 [pounds]. That’s in my contract. I cannot, for example, go fight Tyron Woodley or go fight another guy.”

Experiment with mixed results: The victory by Welterweight Georges St-Pierre at middleweight to gain a new world title was a bold experiment with a truly great result, but was not without its problems. The fundamental problem was always going to be size. Mr St-Pierre always walked into the octagon around 189 pounds on fight night throughout his career. This made him a very averaged sized Welterweight. In order to move up to middle weight, Mr St-Pierre took on a nutritional program designed to facilitate weight gain and hold weight during the rigors of a full fight camp. The result was a disaster. Two weeks into camp he developed severe stomach pains and vomiting. Initially it was suspected that he had an illness, but all tests came back negative. The situation deteriorated to the point that for two weeks of a six week camp there was no training at all. At a critical point we gave him a two day window to either get back in the gym or call off the fight. The first grappling workout he had he vomited heavily prior to workout and then went to work. The next day he had the worst standing sparring session I have ever seen him have. Finally the stomach issue issue resolved itself to a degree where he could train satisfactorily and the workouts improved dramatically- though the vomiting continued all the way up to the day of the fight. He was eating so much more than usual in an attempt to keep weight on and stay close to 200 pounds. When he went through the final weight cut the big question was, would he return to his bigger size? The answer was a resounding no. On fight night he weighed in at 190.5 - almost identical to his usual fight weight as a Welterweight. The great effort to increase size just didn’t work out and Mr St-Pierre went in to win the title as a mid sized Welterweight. It seems his body just finds a comfort zone around 190 pounds for fighting after a weight cut and no amount of work to change that has any effect. It’s one thing to gain weight, it’s another to do so through a fight camp culminating in a weight cut and then regain the weight. It seems his body has an optimal weight for athletic performance which cannot be drastically changed

A post shared by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on Nov 9, 2017 at 1:28pm PST

Comments

Comments powered by Disqus
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>