After reports all week stated that UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn was in the process of filing a complaint against Georges St. Pierre, the Nevada State Athletic Commission notified FiveOuncesOfPain.com on Wednesday that Penn has instead filed a formal request for an investigation into alleged infractions committed by St. Pierre before and during their UFC 94 title fight this past Saturday.
“Dear Mr. Kizer,” the letter begins, addressed to NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer. “This letter is prepared on behalf of Mr. Jay Dee ‘B.J.’ Penn who participated in the UFC welterweight division ‘Championship Bout’ on January 31, 2009, against Georges St. Pierre (hereinafter ’bout’). While this letter is not a formal Complaint to the Nevada Athletic Commission, it shall serve as a formal request to the Commission that it engaged in a comprehensive investigation and review of the activities involving and relating to Georges St. Pierre (‘GSP’) prior to and during the Bout.”
The three page request for a formal investigation is in regard to whether St. Pierre’s corner, consisting of veteran MMA trainers Greg Jackson and Phil Nurse, improperly applied Vaseline to the neck, chest, and shoulders of St. Pierre.
While the letter at no point acts as a protest in which it is suggested that the outcome of the bout be overturned, it clearly outlines concern that the alleged infractions committed by St. Pierre had an adverse effect Penn’s ability to compete.
“Simply put, by lubricating GSP’s body a highly slippery surface was created that completely neutralized an innocent participant’s abilities and strategy to the advantage of GSP,” a passage in the fourth paragraph reads.
The letter, drafted by Nevada-based attorney Raffi A. Nahabedian, asserts that by St. Pierre having been improperly lubricated Penn’s greatest strength, his jiu-jitsu, was not as effective as it could have been.
“Mr. Penn’s most critical offensive and defensive strategies, his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, were rendered useless and he was unable to effectively control GSP and engage his submission techniques due to Mr. Penn’s legs and arm slipping out of the attempted holds/locks and GSP’s ability to readily slip out of the holds/locks due to the highly slipper surfaces on GSP’s body.”
One interesting revelation made in the letter is that Penn’s representatives assert that St. Pierre had a reputation for improper lubrication in the past and that Penn’s camp expressed concerns to the commission before the bout.
“Because of Mr. Penn’s prior experience and information provided to him before his participation in the Bout, a member of Mr. Penn’s team informed Commission members prior to the Bout of the possibility of GSP being ‘greased up’ during the Bout or engaging in activities that may cause him to be/become slippery during the Bout,” states the letter.
While the letter does not say so directly, there is language in the next sentence and a subsequent paragraph that could suggest that Penn’s camp expected a greater degree of protection from NSAC.
“While this discussion occurred, Mr. Penn and his team believed that the Commission would be on heightened alert to guard against such illegal activities and would take every precaution to ensure Mr. Penn’s safety and a fair and proper contest… Not withstanding these comments, it is clear that the Commission’s obligations to ensure and guard against such corruption and unfair advantage were severly compromised as people openly witnessed the improper application of an illegal substance over the neck, shoulders, and back of GSP the critical areas of Mr. Penn’s strategy to impose his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu submission skills and techniques during the Bout.”
The letter goes on to add that Penn voiced complaints while the bout was taking place.
“Additionally, during the Bout, statements were made that GSP was ‘too slippery’ and that Mr. Penn could not grab or hold GSP because of ‘how slippery’ he was during the Bout.”
The letter closes by saying that Penn and his camp are willing to meet with NSAC with the hope that “the activities of GSP and his agents are properly dealt with by the Commission” and that Penn had wanted to have a “fair and just bout” at UFC 94 while continuing to seek “a fair and just encounter against Georges St. Pierre.”
The letter is signed only by Nahabedian with Penn and his Hawaiian-based attorneys Gary Levitt and Lawrence Epstein all carbon copied. Penn still has up until Feb. 10 to submit a formal complaint or protest.