The GSP-Hendricks-VADA three ring circus continues.
To quickly recap the situation, UFC welterweight champ GSP wanted to shut down allegations that he was using performance enhancing drugs by undergoing additional testing at an “Olympic-style” facility, run by an organization called the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA). He offered to pay for testing for both himself and his upcoming opponent, Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks initially agreed, but got cold feet when he learned that GSP was more or less partnering with VADA. It seems GSP had forgotten to mention that VADA had agreed to foot the bill, and now features the athlete on the front page of its website. Hendricks and the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), who will oversee the fight, suggested the two be tested at a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) instead.
GSP agreed to this new plan, but his lawyers began to ask some strange questions, and then requested that the tests be done at a predetermined time and place, instead of at random. At this point, Hendricks more or less wiped his hands of the situation.
It seems like an incredible amount of nonsense over very little, considering both fighters will be tested through the NSAC anyways.
While Hendricks is frustrated with the entire situation, he isn’t worried at all worried about being tested.
“You can test me today for anything,” Hendricks said on The MMA Hour on Monday. “Today, tomorrow, you name the time, I’ll be there.”
Hendricks does feel that GSP’s behavior raised some red flags though, and certainly seemed to put the challenger at a disadvantage.
“I don’t know GSP and for him to say ‘yeah, let’s go take the test over here and nowhere else that I suggested or that even the UFC suggested,’ that’s a little suspect to me,” Hendricks said. “My career is held in his hands and here he has a foot in the door with the VADA group.”
“That’s like if you’re trying out for a job, and a guy says, hey, we’re both trying out for the same job, you both gotta sign up for a drug test,” Hendricks said. “And he says ‘hey I’ve got a really good guy that you can drug test over here.’ Are you going to take that drug test over here with someone that he knows, or are you going to get someone you don’t know, so that way it’s on equal grounds?”
The way Hendricks sees it, there’s millions of dollars on the line, and there’s really no reason for him to risk all of that just to help GSP promote VADA.
“I’m not willing to say ‘You know what GSP, you might be correct, they may not be shady, they might do it 100 percent correct,” he added. “But you’re talking about, I beat GSP that’s millions of dollars. If I do this drug test, and they do something to where I don’t get it, now it might cost me millions of dollars, I’m not willing to risk that for GSP just to sit here and push VADA.”
While Hendricks himself was not on the conference call with GSP’s reps and the NSAC, he relayed some info on the situation from his manager.
“There’s some suspect things that have been going on the last three weeks, first off,” Hendricks said. “My manager, his management group and the UFC and the Nevada commission, they got on the phone and they talked an hour or so. I wasn’t on the conference call. We said yeah, we’ll test for anything, but we don’t know how deep and we don’t still know if GSP is in with VADA.”
“Once we found out it was a little suspect, we said, let’s still do the drug testing, but let’s take it a step further,” he said. “Let’s go to WADA, the world Olympic testing. The Nevada commission, they picked WADA, they had nothing but good things to say. … We wanted to do WADA. When the UFC said let’s do WADA, I was 100 percent ready for that.”
“Then all of a sudden a week later after the conference call, I didn’t know GSP was going to be doing a drug test, then it comes out that ‘Johny denied it,'” he said. “I said hey, you didn’t even tell me you were going to do VADA. The last I heard from my management and the UFC was WADA. Then GSP just went and did VADA on his own and threw me under the bus to clear his name.”
GSP subsequently decided to go ahead with VADA testing without Hendricks, leaving many to wonder what the hell all of the fuss was about in the first place. When asked if perhaps it was a mind game on the part of the champ, Hendricks says GSP has a reason to be afraid.
“I really believe he has a reason to be scared,” Hendricks said. “I think I can beat GSP. I believe it. There’s a part of me, I believe 100 percent I can beat GSP. Is that why he’s doing it? Is he playing head games to try to distract me? I don’t know. I don’t know GSP. There’s a lot of ways that this can play and I’m just not buying it.”
“I know I’m not taking anything,” he concluded. “I know I’m clean. I can pass any drug test given to me at any point at any time. It’s just that I don’t like that somebody has a foot in the door [with VADA]. That’s my biggest concern. There’s certain things going around, that affects what’s going to happen. It doesn’t affect me. I know I’m never going to fail a drug test. I haven’t yet and I know I’m not going to. If I need drugs to help me when then I don’t want to do it.”
UFC 167, the promotion’s 20th anniversary show, will take place on November 16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.