Mixed martial arts legend Georges St-Pierre says his written endorsement of the so-called "King of Pot" was a mistake but he's still friends with the convicted drug dealer.
The former UFC titleholder wrote a letter to his fans to explain an earlier letter he wrote in support of Jimmy Cournoyer, who faces life in prison for importing $1 billion worth of marijuana into the U.S.
St-Pierre's May 27 letter, part of a clemency motion to U.S District Court, referred to Cournoyer as being "like a brother" to him and a "very loyal friend."
On Sunday, the fighter clarified his court letter.
"First of all, the letter I signed was a mistake — my mistake. I will not go into detail as to why and how the letter came about because it's not going to right a wrong," St-Pierre wrote. "I simply wanted to help repatriate Jimmy to a Canadian prison, closer to his family, if that was possible."
St-Pierre said he wasn't aware of Cournoyer's crimes until he was arrested, nor does he condone any of his friend's criminal actions.
The former UFC welterweight champion didn't disavow Cournoyer, whom he says he has twice visited in his New York jail cell.
"Why? Because I believe in redemption, and I believe in loyalty. I will continue to support him — as a friend," St. Pierre wrote. "In fact, if Jimmy leaves prison one day, I should be there, to help him start over in a better way."
Cournoyer, of Laval, Que., faces a 20-year sentence following his conviction in May 2013 for importing pot into the U.S. from Quebec between 1998 and 2012.
He conspired to import cocaine into Canada, with help from the Montreal and New York Mafia as well as Mexican cartels and the Hells Angels, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.