(Photo via Getty)
By Trent Reinsmith
Earlier this week, a report surfaced out of Montreal that former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was spotted in a restaurant with UFC president Dana White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. At this point, no one is saying what the meeting was about. Maybe it was just one rich dude and two wealthy dudes sitting down for a lunch of Venison Haunch and Saucisson or Suckling Pig Rack and Flank (offered on the restaurant’s lunch menu at $36 and $42 respectively), or maybe it was a meeting to gauge St-Pierre’s interest in a return to the Octagon.
My sincere hope, for both the UFC and St-Pierre is that it was the former, not the latter. However, if the conversation was about a St-Pierre return to the UFC, I would advise both sides to stop right now because it will not help either in the long run.
Let’s start with why St-Pierre — in the immortal words of Burgess Meredith as Mickey in Rocky — should, “Down, down, stay down.”
When St-Pierre decided to step away from the UFC after defeating Johny Hendricks in November 2013 he was one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. Well, at least until the moment that he told Joe Rogan he was stepping away from the sport for a bit. Once UFC president Dana White heard those words, White went into full meltdown mode.
In the post-fight press conference, White said of St-Pierre, “You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company, and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again, unless you’re gonna retire…There’s no ‘Hey listen I’m gonna go on a cruise and be gone for two years.’”
It was an impassioned speech; too bad none of it happened to be true. St-Pierre, a man that made the UFC millions of dollars didn’t (and doesn’t) owe anyone anything. White’s public reaction to his cash cow walking away was ugly, nasty and served as a reminder of how quickly he is willing to throw a fighter under the bus, even if that fighter is recognized as one of the greatest combatants ever to set foot in the Octagon.