(After 11 years in a sport marked by physical trauma, emotional turmoil, and financial misdealings, St-Pierre is beaten, but not broken. / Photo via Getty)
By Brian J. D’Souza
Last Friday, Georges St-Pierre confirmed what has been suspected since his emotional post-fight speech at UFC 167 — that he is vacating the UFC welterweight title. Some are calling it a temporary hiatus, others see GSP as being permanently retired. Either way, the manner in which these events have transpired is a worthy story in itself.
The key to understanding the way St-Pierre has conducted himself, both inside and outside the Octagon, goes back to his earliest origins growing up in the rural area of St. Isidore, Quebec, Canada:
“I went to a school where it was pretty rough — I’d get my clothes stolen, my cash. And at home life was pretty hard too. I had a difficult childhood,” said St-Pierre to an interviewer in 2006.
The upshot of these challenges translated into the single quality that defines GSP to this day — his relentless desire to please everybody around him. Not only was St-Pierre an absolute perfectionist with respect to his performance as a fighter, but he actively sought to cultivate positive relationships with all of the people he crossed paths with in life.
In a non-corporate environment, that character trait might have gone over better. In the shark tank of pimps, hustlers and thieves who infest the fight game, it made St-Pierre an easy mark for managers who felt entitled to take his money.