GSP, CTE And OCD: How St-Pierre Hurt Coach Kavanagh’s Feelings

The man many consider to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time appears not to have enjoyed his time in the cage. Speaking to ESPN‘s Ariel Helwani, Georges St-Pierre revealed that he didn’t enjoy a single moment during his fights.

“I love what fighting gave me…but I actually don’t like to fight. I never enjoyed one second in the Octagon in my entire career.”

The admission came as a surprise to many (including Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh); however, when put in conversation with GSP’s past statements on the stress he experienced during his reign as welterweight champion of the UFC, these new statements are hardly shocking.

For example, St-Pierre is widely teased in the MMA community for his belief in aliens. Indeed, even Tristar Coach Firas Zahabi has admitted in the past that the 38 year old has particular regimens to prevent aliens from abducting him in his sleep (which includes leaving a foam roller up against his door and tracking its movement throughout the night). The dark side of these light-hearted jokes is of course the notion that GSP’s eccentricities are caused by CTE and brain damage.

UFC GSP Georges St-Pierre UFO Aliens
Image courtesy of Fightland – VICE

St-Pierre’s words also bring up some interesting questions about our sport: does one need to enjoy fighting to be a great fighter? Is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), from which GSP admittedly suffers, a liability or a key ingredient to becoming the GOAT?

Readers unfamiliar with the greatness of St-Pierre would do well to understand that he is widely regarded as having MMA’s greatest jab without ever having boxed professionally in his life. Further, despite his lack of wresting credentials, GSP’s blast double-leg takedown is also considered amongst the greatest in MMA history. The question thus arises: Could he have attained such heights without his quirks? Where would the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion be without his anxieties and aliens?

But St-Pierre’s words raised other questions for Conor McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanagh.

“Nothing but respect for the 1st true MMA athlete but this is kind of depressing. He didn’t enjoy 1 second? I hope that’s hyperbole.”

Clearly, Kavanagh took the news as slightly upsetting, though one cannot help but wonder if the Head of Straight Blast Gym wishes his own superstar was afflicted with the same obsessions, fears, and anxieties.

Georges St-Pierre retired from the sport exactly fourteen months ago today. The last time he stepped inside the UFC Octagon was in November 2017, when he defeated Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to win the UFC middleweight title.


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