Michael Bisping is never afraid to stir the pot and the outspoken UFC middleweight champion is now openly challenging Georges St-Pierre to end his ongoing dispute with the promotion and fight him at UFC 206 in Toronto.
Bisping took to Twitter Tuesday night to call out the former welterweight champ.
When asked by a Twitter follower whether or not Bisping has signed a bout agreement, the Englishman replied by saying he “verbally agreed” to the fight.
Shortly afterwards, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that UFC president Dana White denied the bout is in the works for the Dec. 10 event at Air Canada Centre.
St-Pierre vacated his welterweight title and took an indefinite leave of absence from the sport in December 2013. The Saint-Isidore, Que., native never stopped training, never said he was retired and earlier this year confirmed he was ready to return to competition.
The 35-year-old told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour last week that his contract with the UFC had been terminated after negotiations with new UFC ownership to rework his contract fell apart. The UFC later responded with a statement reading: “Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa LLC as his MMA promoter. Zuffa intends to honour its agreement with St-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St-Pierre do the same.”
Bisping is coming off a tightly contested unanimous decision victory over 46-year-old Dan Henderson at UFC 204. It was Bisping’s first title defence since knocking out Luke Rockhold to win the belt at UFC 199 in June. Bisping was criticized by many of the top middleweight contenders — Rockhold, Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi among others — for calling out Henderson, who was the No. 13-ranked contender at the time. Challenging a welterweight who hasn’t fought in three years certainly won’t do much to boost Bisping’s popularity amongst his middleweight peers.
The UFC hasn’t held an event in Toronto in more than three years and having St-Pierre headline the card would have been the ideal way to return to a market once considered a hotbed for MMA fans.
“It would have been a win-win situation,” St-Pierre said in regards to his comeback fight taking place at UFC 206. “I think now what happened with this [contract dispute] situation, the biggest loser is the fans. I’m a loser. The UFC is a loser…They would have made good money.”
St-Pierre responded to Bisping’s challenge Wednesday afternoon, saying he recently met with White but it doesn’t appear that anything will be resolved.
UFC 206 is currently scheduled to be headlined by a light-heavyweight title bout between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, however the card has been criticized for its lack of star power outside of the main event. The UFC’s handling of St-Pierre’s contract, plus a lacklustre fight card has even galvanized some fans in the Toronto area to start a #BoycottUFC206 movement.