Despite reports to the contrary, the camp for B.J. Penn had yet to have filed a formal complaint against the corner for Georges St. Pierre as of late Monday night.
“We haven’t gotten anything yet, but it’s early,” Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Executive Director Keith Kizer informed FiveOuncesOfPain.com during an exclusive interview.
The reports of a possible complaint from Penn’s camp comes in response to allegations that the corner for St. Pierre improperly applied lubricant to the shoulders and neck of St. Pierre. The allegations were confirmed by Kizer, who detailed the incident.
“After the end of the first round and just as the second round began, one of the inspectors came over to me and said during the time out that one of the cornermen — who I believe was Phil Nurse for the first round — was putting Vaseline on Georges’ face and that he then rubbed Georges’ shoulders,” said Kizer. “It’s okay to rub a guy’s shoulders but you’ve got to make sure the Vaseline is off your hand and it looked and appeared that there might have still be some Vaseline on his hands while he was rubbing his shoulders and upper back between the rounds.”
Despite the warning brought forth by the initial infraction, Kizer indicated that a potential second violation occurred between the second and third round.
“My chief inspector Tony Lato and I were sitting there and we were just behind Georges to his left so we were watching very closely at the end of the second round,” began Kizer. “At this time I believe it was Mr. Jackson — and both guys were in the cage but this time I believe it was Mr. Jackson — was putting the Vaseline on Georges’ face. When he put his hand on Georges’ back to do his breathing thing, there appeared to still be some Vaseline on his hand. Not a lot, but it still appeared to be there because he went directly from the face to the back for the breathing exercise.
“Tony and I yelled at him and it appeared he couldn’t hear us as a result of the noise from the crowd inside of the arena so I immediately got into the Octagon, something I rarely ever do and hopefully have to never do again. I went over to Greg and yelled at him so he could hear me tell him to take his hand off Georges’ back and he did. We then had the camp as well as the inspectors wipe off Mr. St. Pierre’s back and shoulders and I told these guys to be careful and stop doing that.”
From that point forward, Jackson and Nurse honored the commission’s wishes.
“After the round, as we he was going to his corner, I think it was Greg who came over to me and said ‘Hey, look I was just trying to help with his breathing.’ I said ‘Look, we’ll deal with this later. Just don’t do that again.’ At the end of the third round we watched them and they didn’t do anything like that. They were very careful but we still had his back and shoulders wiped off to play it safe,” stated Kizer.
Kizer’s decision to enter the cage was visible to anyone who attended after the event. However, the aftermath that ensued afterward was not. According to Kizer, Penn’s camp immediately expressed concern after the fight.
“Regan Penn came over and I spoke with him and I kind of just told him what we had observed and what we had done about it,” he described. “Obviously he was not very pleased with the behavior of Mr. St. Pierre’s corner and neither were we.
“… I also spoke to one of St. Pierre’s corner people in the back and basically told him that it was unacceptable and he said it was it was accidental. Regardless of whether it was accidental or not, it was improper and unfortunately because of it, some fans my look at it as a tainted victory by St. Pierre and neither he or B.J. Penn deserve such a response for such a great fight.”
While Jackson and Nurse may have had no malicious intent in performing breathing exercises on St. Pierre, their actions were still considered to be serious in nature and Kizer indicated that their ability to corner fighters could be affected in the future.
“It was just very disconcerting and later I had our chief inspector tell the cornermen that if they ever do anything like that again that it will probably be the last time they ever work a corner in Nevada for any event,” Kizer began to explain. “Also, Mr. Fertitta and Mr. White also indicated that they were very disappointed and perhaps that they wouldn’t work a corner for any UFC regardless of location but I will leave that to the UFC and them. We’ll only deal with it from Nevada’s perspective.”
In closing, Kizer was asked whether the infractions committed were serious enough to create a situation where St. Pierre’s victory could possibly be overturned.
“Any licensing is subject to fines or suspensions based on their behavior. Whether or not this rises to that, I cannot say. I’d want to get all sides and perspectives and whether the stern warning was sufficient or if more needs to be done has yet to be determined. But that’s probably it and there’s probably no basis for a protest of the decision itself. We wiped him down and you do what you can to make it a level playing field.”