August 21, 2009

"Greasegate" has made its first imprint on the Nevada State Athletic Commission rulebook.

In a meeting held Wednesday in Las Vegas, the NSAC approved language prohibiting the use of foreign substances on a fighter's body prior to or during a fight that "could result in an unfair advantage."

Dubbed by a commission official as the "B.J. Penn Rule," the use of foreign substances will now be added to a list of "fouls" in the Nevada Administrative Code that address tactics illegal to fighters, such as eye gouging, small joint manipulation, or biting.

Controversy surrounding the use of Vaseline at UFC 94 threatened to overshadow welterweight champion St. Pierre's dominating fourth round win over lightweight champion Penn.

Penn's lawyer, Raffi Nahabedian, was present at the meeting and said the change was an important step in preventing future controversy.

"The rule change is great because it's better than nothing," Nahabedian told afterwards. "The official can now make the assessment that this is a foul. So it's even better than before."

Nahabedian also suggested a rule during the meeting that would provide fighters with a commission-supervised shower prior to their bouts.

When the whole turmoil blew up around St. Pierre's improper usage of Vaseline at UFC 94, Nahabedian says he was approached by several fighters and camps that asserted certain athletes take "pre-bout baths in oil" or repeatedly had oily or greasy substances rubbed into their skin, which could help them to gain an unfair advantage against their opponents.

"These are issues that need to be considered," said Nahabedian. "Because these oils that absorb into the skin, and then when (the combatant) starts to perspire, and they start to perspire heavily, these oils are then pushed outward (making them slippery)," which would obviously hinder a fighter that relies heavily on grappling or jiu-jitsu.

Nahabedian believes that a supervised pre-fight shower upon arrival at the venue would help to deter such tactics.

The commission said they would take the matter under future consideration.

"I think that the commission eventually is going to have to become even more technical in this area and add the pre-bout shower," said Nahabedian. "You have athletes that are willing to do anything to attain the fame and money that comes with bouts at this level... it's something they're going to need to do."

The commission's action on foreign substances appeared to be a reversal in tone from a March hearing in which they took no formal action following spirited testimony from Penn's camp and representatives for St. Pierre.

NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer said the rule could take up to 30 days to take effect.

Representatives for St. Pierre were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

You May Like