Trainer: GSP Almost Dropped UFC 217 Due To Weight

Georges St-Pierre returned to MMA after a four-year layoff to win the UFC middleweight title with a stirring third-round submission of champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217. The battle for the middleweight title resulted in one of the biggest events of the year for the UFC; it also apparently almost didn’t happen.

St-Pierre’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach John Danaher revealed Thursday on his Instagram account that “Rush” had serious problems with his weight-gain program for the fight, such that his coaches were considering calling off the fight.

Experiment with mixed results: The victory by Welterweight Georges St-Pierre at middleweight to gain a new world title was a bold experiment with a truly great result, but was not without its problems. The fundamental problem was always going to be size. Mr St-Pierre always walked into the octagon around 189 pounds on fight night throughout his career. This made him a very averaged sized Welterweight. In order to move up to middle weight, Mr St-Pierre took on a nutritional program designed to facilitate weight gain and hold weight during the rigors of a full fight camp. The result was a disaster. Two weeks into camp he developed severe stomach pains and vomiting. Initially it was suspected that he had an illness, but all tests came back negative. The situation deteriorated to the point that for two weeks of a six week camp there was no training at all. At a critical point we gave him a two day window to either get back in the gym or call off the fight. The first grappling workout he had he vomited heavily prior to workout and then went to work. The next day he had the worst standing sparring session I have ever seen him have. Finally the stomach issue issue resolved itself to a degree where he could train satisfactorily and the workouts improved dramatically- though the vomiting continued all the way up to the day of the fight. He was eating so much more than usual in an attempt to keep weight on and stay close to 200 pounds. When he went through the final weight cut the big question was, would he return to his bigger size? The answer was a resounding no. On fight night he weighed in at 190.5 – almost identical to his usual fight weight as a Welterweight. The great effort to increase size just didn’t work out and Mr St-Pierre went in to win the title as a mid sized Welterweight. It seems his body just finds a comfort zone around 190 pounds for fighting after a weight cut and no amount of work to change that has any effect. It’s one thing to gain weight, it’s another to do so through a fight camp culminating in a weight cut and then regain the weight. It seems his body has an optimal weight for athletic performance which cannot be drastically changed

A post shared by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

“Experiment with mixed results: The victory by Welterweight Georges St-Pierre at middleweight to gain a new world title was a bold experiment with a truly great result, but was not without its problems,” Danaher wrote. “The fundamental problem was always going to be size. Mr St-Pierre always walked into the octagon around 189 pounds on fight night throughout his career. This made him a very averaged sized Welterweight. In order to move up to middle weight [sic], Mr St-Pierre took on a nutritional program designed to facilitate weight gain and hold weight during the rigors of a full fight camp. The result was a disaster.

“Two weeks into camp he developed severe stomach pains and vomiting. Initially it was suspected that he had an illness, but all tests came back negative. The situation deteriorated to the point that for two weeks of a six week camp there was no training at all. At a critical point we gave him a two day window to either get back in the gym or call off the fight. The first grappling workout he had he vomited heavily prior to workout and then went to work. The next day he had the worst standing sparring session I have ever seen him have. Finally the stomach issue issue resolved itself to a degree where he could train satisfactorily and the workouts improved dramatically- though the vomiting continued all the way up to the day of the fight.”

St-Pierre had spent all of his career until UFC 217, competing at 170 pounds, and had repeatedly stated he only wanted to move up in weight if it was done correctly by adding natural weight on. Even though St-Pierre did appear larger in the octagon on Saturday evening, apparently the weight-gain program his team implemented did not in fact yield results, with Danaher writing that St-Pierre ended up competing at roughly the same weight he did for welterweight contests.

“He was eating so much more than usual in an attempt to keep weight on and stay close to 200 pounds. When he went through the final weight cut the big question was, would he return to his bigger size? The answer was a resounding no. On fight night he weighed in at 190.5 – almost identical to his usual fight weight as a Welterweight. The great effort to increase size just didn’t work out and Mr St-Pierre went in to win the title as a mid sized Welterweight. It seems his body just finds a comfort zone around 190 pounds for fighting after a weight cut and no amount of work to change that has any effect. It’s one thing to gain weight, it’s another to do so through a fight camp culminating in a weight cut and then regain the weight. It seems his body has an optimal weight for athletic performance which cannot be drastically changed.”

This revelation from Danaher is sure to add fuel to the speculations that St-Pierre won’t be sticking around middleweight for long, an idea St-Pierre himself hasn’t exactly shied away from.

You might also like