Penn Files Request for NSAC Investigation

By Loretta Hunt Feb 4, 2009
B.J. Penn’s attorney submitted a formal request for investigation to the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday surrounding allegations that Penn’s opponent, Georges St. Pierre, was illegally “greased up” during their welterweight championship rematch bout last Saturday at UFC 94 “St. Pierre vs. Penn” in Las Vegas.

St. Pierre wore down, then brutalized the grounded UFC lightweight champion over four rounds before Penn’s corner signaled to an attending physician that their fighter could not continue into the final round. St. Pierre was also victorious against Penn via a close split decision in their first bout at UFC 58 in March 2006.

“Mr. Penn’s most critical offensive and defensive strategies, his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, were rendered useless as he was unable to effectively control [St. Pierre] and engage his submission techniques due to Mr. Penn’s legs and arms slipping out of the attempted holds/locks and [St. Pierre’s] ability to readily slip out of the holds/locks due to the highly slippery surfaces on [St. Pierre’s] body,” wrote Penn’s attorney, Raffi A. Nahabedian.

In the letter, Penn’s representatives also stated that they’d voiced their concerns about St. Pierre to “commission members” prior to the bout based on “prior experience and information provided to [Penn]” before the bout.

Accusations that St. Pierre’s two cornermen, Phil Nurse and Greg Jackson, had improperly applied Vaseline to the fighter’s shoulders and back began to circulate cageside after the one-minute break between the first and second rounds.

NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer said he was notified by an inspector stationed outside the cage at the top of the second round. After observing a similar motion from Jackson during the second round break, Kizer entered the cage and instructed the cornermen to cease the action and they complied. Kizer said St. Pierre was also wiped down with towels by inspectors from that point on.

“We dealt with it as best we could during the fight,” said Kizer. “That’s when you want to deal with any other foul. … Whether there’s anything subsequent that needs to be done, I don’t know.”

While Penn still has a week to submit a formal complaint to the regulatory body, Kizer said “a review” of the occurrences in St. Pierre’s corner that night is already well underway.

In addition to speaking with St. Pierre, Jackson and Nurse on fight night, Kizer said he has already obtained videotape of the French Canadian’s corner breaks to look over. Kizer said he will also allow Nurse and Jackson 20 days to reply to Penn’s letter. Kizer will then decide if the accusations will be presented to the commission for further discussion and potential action.

Jackson, Nurse and St. Pierre have publicly denied any wrongdoing, stating that the contact in question was made to aid in the fighter’s breathing techniques between rounds.
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