It’s not a formal complaint per say, but BJ Penn’s camp, specifically BJ’s lawyer Raffi Nahabedian, has filed a letter with the NSAC requesting the commission to investigate Georges St. Pierre and his cornermen for greasing.
NBCSports.com’s Mike Chiappetta broke the news earlier today.
BJ Penn has sent a formal request to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, asking them to investigate Georges St. Pierre and the actions of his cornerman during their UFC 94 bout last Saturday night.
The letter was sent by Penn’s lawyer Raffi Nahabedian to Nevada state athletic commission executive director Keith Kizer. In the correspondence, which was given by the commission to NBCSports.com, Nahabedian states that the letter is not a formal complaint, but asks the commission to ensure that St. Pierre and his cornermen are “properly dealt with.”
It is unclear at this point why Penn opted to send a letter asking for an investigation instead of a formal complaint. Regardless, Keith Kizer has received video footage of the first three rounds from the UFC that includes camera angles focusing on GSP’s corner in between rounds, presumably ones not shown on the pay-per-view broadcast. It appears that if Kizer and the commission deem it necessary, they will bring in the individuals involved and give them an opportunity to respond.
There was one quote from the letter that caught my attention.
“This illegal situation made it impossible for Mr. Penn to defend himself and unfairly exposed Mr. Penn to GSP’s ‘ground and pound’ strategy, which Mr. Penn extensively trained for and was fully prepared to perform against,” the letter states. “More importantly, by neutralizing Mr. Penn’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu abilities through the use of illegal and improper means, Mr. Penn was subjected to a life threatening and career ending environment; an environment that the Commission was formed to protect against.”
While I certainly won’t dispute that “greasing” a fighter’s body can’t give them an unfair advantage, this statement just seems a little overboard. Fighters knowingly risk their lives and their careers every time they step in the cage. This wasn’t a case of GSP saturating his hand wraps with plaster like professional boxer Antonio Margarito allegedly did. Many fighters aren’t jiu-jitsu experts like Penn. Is the risk higher for them? Greasing certainly has the potential to put a fighter with strong jiu-jitsu at an unfair disadvantage but to say it put him at a higher risk for death is a bit of a stretch. There’s still a referee inside the cage to protect him after all.
For now, resolution to this matter still appears to be a ways off. Whether or not they punish St. Pierre, Phil Nurse, and/or Greg Jackson remains to be seen, but like I’ve said before, what’s as important, if not more, is for the commission to put measures in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again. However, from the way Kizer spoke, I’m not entirely confident that will happen.
Kizer, however, told NBCSports.com that while the written regulation doesn’t outlaw greasing the body, fighters at MMA events are verbally told by both the commission and the promoter that it is not allowed.
Asked whether the rules should be amended to include not greasing the body, Kizer said, “Not necessarily, but it wouldn’t hurt. The reason for rules is to give notice as to what’s illegal, and they have notice of that.”
I have to ask, how exactly do you enforce a rule that’s not clearly stated in the rulebook?
Perhaps, adding that might be a good place to start, just so everybody’s on the same page. I mean, “it wouldn’t hurt,” right?