TORONTO — Georges St-Pierre was as disappointed as anyone to learn his upcoming fight against middleweight champion Michael Bisping was being cancelled—only he didn’t hear the news from the man who made the decision to scrap it, UFC president Dana White.
“A friend of mine texted me,” St-Pierre told Sportsnet Thursday evening. “I was not aware. I didn’t know if it was a rumour or not but [my friend] sent me an article. I was surprised.”
St-Pierre said a week ago he’d be ready to fight Bisping anytime after October. But White announced early Thursday that the UFC wasn’t going to wait around any longer for St-Pierre.
“I made this GSP fight. We did a press conference [in March],” White told Fox Sports Australia. “The thing was supposed to happen in July … Georges St-Pierre is saying he will not be ready to compete now until November. Who knows if that’s even the case? It could be next year. So we’re not waiting for Georges St-Pierre anymore. We’re moving on with the division, and [No. 1 middleweight contender] Yoel Romero will get the next shot.”
The former welterweight champion is as calculated with his words as he is with his strikes and takedowns in the cage, so he was mindful not to vociferate or say anything he might regret later on.
“It’s sad for me because I wanted to fight Michael Bisping. He wanted to fight me,” said St-Pierre, who also wondered if perhaps White’s words sprung forth out of frustration. “Sometimes things in MMA are said because of an emotional reason or whatever. I understand their point but they knew when they did the press conference with me and Bisping I couldn’t fight before the end of summer. They knew that. Still, they insist. Unfortunately, I have no words right now.”
As of Thursday night no bout agreements had been signed for a Bisping-Romero tilt.
St-Pierre, who turns 36 next week, is still hopeful this situation with Bisping and the UFC can be resolved.
“I know Anderson Silva wants to fight [but] I didn’t have a plan B. I wanted to fight Michael Bisping and he wanted to fight me. I don’t give up on it. I do not give up on Bisping. I don’t think Bisping has given up on me either from what I’ve heard,” St-Pierre said. “I really don’t know what to say. I was getting ready for that, trying to put on some weight [to bulk up for my middleweight debut]. I follow a diet plan. I understand their point about the people waiting and stuff. I’m just sad. There’s a lot of things I can’t say right now but it is what it is.”
The Saint-Isidore, Que., native hasn’t fought since taking an indefinite leave of absence in late 2013, but the superstar has kept himself busy. St-Pierre came to terms on a new contract with the UFC in February after many months of tough negotiations. One reason why it took so long to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a deal was because of his many prior commitments. His busy schedule happens to be why he is delaying his return to the Octagon.
“I have a lot of commitments that were already planned because—this negotiation at one point if you remember was going nowhere—so I already had a lot of things booked and personal commitments.”
St-Pierre added: “We’re fighters but the way we make money is not only fighting. You have to understand that we live off—especially after the Reebok deal—we live off a lot of other things like sponsorships and commitments. We are guys that are in the entertainment business and we can’t piss off the wrong people. If we make a deal, we sign a deal that we’re going to be there we have to honour the deal. So it’s a lot of commitment, so it’s just sad. I have a lot of stuff to do now and I have to honour these things.
“We’ll see what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”