Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi is considered one of the best trainers in the game today, his level of work can be seen through many top fighters and most notable two-division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre.
Zahabi recently revealed he made an unorthodox coaching method by offering $5,000 rewards to whoever knockout Georges St-Pierre in training. Moreover, he went into details saying St-Pierre had a concussion going into a title fight against Dan Hardy at UFC 111 back in 2010.
During his appearance at recent episode of JRE MMA Show, Zahabi recalls the training, where one of the sparring partners hit GSP so hard which resulted in St-Pierre dealing with a concussion going into Hardy fight. (Via BloodyElbow)
There was one more round (of sparring), and he said to me ‘Coach, let me finish the round, I’m okay. Let me finish the next round,’” Zahabi told Joe Rogan. “And I felt that if I pulled it, I would’ve killed his confidence, totally. So I said ‘Okay, you could do the next round.”
“And I told the other guy he was sparring with, ‘Don’t land a single glove.’ I whispered it to him, ‘Not a single glove on him. Just take a mauling.’ And Georges went in that next round, not knowing that the other guy was not allowed to hit him at all.”
“The UFC was there filming,” Zahabi recalled. “So I had to go ‘Look, guys, that footage can never air. That footage has got to disappear.’ And they were like ‘Yeah, don’t worry, we understand the fight’s on the line.’ That’s why that fight, he was doing a lot of wrestling. We didn’t want to even chance – I was sure he had a concussion when he went in that fight.”
Zahabi understands the criticism he may face by sending his pupil star into five round war against Hardy, but at the end, he left the decision on GSP to decide.
“I just let the fighter decide now unless I really feel it’s urgent,” Zahabi explained. “Which is rare that I’ve had to actually intervene, because at the end of the day, when are you 100%? It rarely happens. There’s always something.”
“That left hook (from Hardy), if it would’ve touched Georges, Georges would’ve been out like a light,” he added. “He’s got a crazy left hook, plus, Georges was hurt two weeks before. Thank God it worked out well.”
However, St-Pierre ended up won the bout via unanimous decision at UFC 111, marking his fourth title defense since unifying the UFC welterweight title against Matt Serra.