The biggest news of the week came early, as former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre appeared on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and declared that he was a free agent. St-Pierre said his attorney James Quinn terminated his UFC contract after the league did not meet a deadline to offer him a fight.
The UFC issued a 35-word statement that can be summed up in one – “no.”
Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his MMA promoter. Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St-Pierre do the same.
Adding to the gravity of the message for St-Pierre, UFC contracts are litigated in Nevada, which has a marked pro-business record. In short, despite what one lawyer says, GSP is not a free agent.
However, the announcement was in all likelihood a negotiating tactic, similar to those UFC president Dana White employs with regularity. When negotiations with Conor McGregor apparently ground down, White took to Twitter and said he was looking at lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez vs. Khabib Numagomedov. In the end, Conor McGregor will be headlining UFC 205 in the biggest MMA show ever.
Hopefully, the same thing will happen here, and it will be announced before too long that GSP is headlining another show that couldn’t be beat.
Whatever the disagreement, it is apparently not over the $10,000,000 that Jose Aldo claimed he was asking for.
An educated guess would be that the differences are over sponsorship. Reebok has an exclusive apparel deal with the UFC. GSP has an apparel deal with UnderArmor. Those two deals don’t fit right.
If The Reebok Deal keeps GSP out of the UFC, it is one more sign that it simply isn’t good for the sport. White also has said repeatedly that he doesn’t believe GSP’s heart is still in fighting. The UFC boss has been saying it for a while.
However, the fighter took little offense at the remarks.
“I don’t dislike Dana White,” said GSP, as transcribed by Mike Bohn for MMAjunkie. “He was a big part of what I do, and a big part of what I earned is because of Dana White. Dana White can organize a fight between the Hulk and Mother Theresa and make people believe it will be an even fight and people need to see that fight. He’s so good at promoting, and when he says something, everybody believes it.
“When he’s saying that I’m not ready to fight, there’s only one person who knows if I’m ready to fight, and it’s myself. Dana White doesn’t know what it is to be a fighter; I know what it is to be a fighter. I’m a fighter, and I will always stand and support fighters.”
“I’ve never been afraid to stand for what I believe is right. I’m very sad to not be fighting in Toronto. I’m very disappointed of where we have to go now. But for my situation, I have no choice but to do it for the best of my interests. In business, you don’t need to like the person you do business with.
“I truly believe it would have been a win-win situation if I had fought in Toronto. They would have made a lot of money. I would make good money. But unfortunately because it’s not happening, I’m losing, I believe the UFC is losing, but the biggest loser in all that is the fans.”