As a referee in mixed martial arts for over a decade, “Big” John gave his thoughts on the recent controversy revolving around Vaselinegate with Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn:
It has been a problem for a long time. It is one that we [referees] have addressed before. As much as people want to make of it; I don’t ever want to suggest that the performance by GSP in that fight was aided by Vaseline....that is ridiculous! His performance was not based at all by having Vaseline on him. He beat B.J. Penn soundly and because of the mistake by someone in his corner people try to make it a bigger deal than it really was. We stopped allowing fighters to have their corner men apply Vaseline to them in the locker-room because we did find that some people were applying it to areas that were illegal. You have commissioners in the back that work both MMA and Boxing matches and sometimes those lines get crossed because there are some differences between the two that sometimes get overlooked. So that is why the fighters get there pre-fight Vaseline at the cage now. This allows the referee or an inspector to watch the cut-man or cornerman when it is applied. Even now though there are times that Vaseline still ends up on a fighter’s back by accident. I don’t think it was intentional or an attempt to cheat but I agree it should have been stopped by the inspector and checked to make sure who ever was applying the Vaseline to GSP’s face didn’t touch him anywhere else. I think the situation was handled well and it wasn’t like they were rubbing handfuls of Vaseline all over his chest and back. I think it has been blown out of proportion and that it didn’t have any effect on the fight. The new rules established by the UFC should stop these incidents from occurring in the future but there is still going to be the chance that the cut-man accidentally touches the fighter somewhere other than his face. Its just human error and not cheating. As far as B.J. goes, I am sure he is upset that it happened but I highly doubt he is going to use that as an excuse for why he lost the fight.