Let’s give up The GSP “personal issues” crusade for a bit. Georges is obviously one of MMA’s superstars and best fighters, so it’s expected that there would be more buzz surrounding his potential retirement than that of say Tim Kennedy. The relentless onslaught of coverage surrounding Georges’ “personal issues” statement has become mind numbing, and is perpetuating rumors that, for all we know, contain little to no fact. As a longtime fan of The UFC and MMA as a whole, I’ve subconsciously prided myself on our seeming freedom from gossip and non-fact based reporting, and it’s painful to see that slipping away. I view us fans as a more mature audience that would never have even looked into a TMZ report on one of our sport’s classiest ambassadors saying he’s had an unplanned pregnancy or his father is in poor health.
Let’s look at what we know for sure.
1. Georges got beat up quite badly at UFC 167. Aside from the visible damage to his face, the long-reigning champ reported what has to be concussion symptoms immediately following the fight, so right there we know he’s not thinking clearly to say the least. He made even more statements confirming he likely was concussed at the post-fight press conference.
2. Georges was clearly demoralized following the fight. When you’re put out and beaten up, you’re likely going to have a less than enthusiastic response to the prospect of doing it again 2 minutes after you just got done taking a beating. Nobody ever took a tough test and was excited to take another, so why would we expect Mr. St. Pierre to have a different reaction. Make no mistake; Georges was certainly tested on Saturday.
3. Pretty much all of the hogwash rumors have been shot down within hours of them surfacing. The first reports said Georges’ father was dying, and he was facing an unplanned pregnancy. At a glace, this doesn’t seem ridiculous. That said, less than 24 hours later Georges’ sister said that her father was doing just fine. That’s got to be frustrating. Second stage reports said Georges’ is in some type of legal battle with a former manager. Nope. The lady accused of suing the UFC’s welterweight king said that she is not one of his personal problems. So what does that leave us? That maybe he’s in the midst of a pregnancy planned or not? Well, at the moment the reports are 0-2. We can conclude we don’t have any ground to make assumptions based on less-than-credible sources.
4. Dana White, who says he is privy to whatever issues are bugging Georges, says he doesn’t think they’d cause him to retire.
5. In the same interview Dana says Georges doesn’t just get to take time off at his own discretion. GSP has only fought twice this year which is his average, so it’s not as if he fought 4 times in 2013 and needs time to relax. Plus, The UFC’s roster is more competitive now than ever, and if I know that, so does Georges St. Pierre. White even said he’d have a date for the GSP/Hendricks rematch with in a few weeks, and it’s safe to say the two men have spoken since Saturday night.
6. Let’s quit calling for him to retire. For starters, it’s not up to us; its an intimate decision only Georges can make, and he’s not lost a fight since 2007. Joe Rogan said he should just give the belt to Hendricks. I’m pretty sure that’s not how a vacant title situation works. Hendricks would still have to fight for it (presumably Robbie Lawler or Rory MacDonald). Why wouldn’t he?
7. My last point is this. That fight was a lot closer than you probably remember it. If you still have access to it on your DVR or what have you, please give it a rewatch with out any volume, so you’re not swayed by the commentary from Rogan and Goldie. It was close; that’s a fact, and mathematically GSP landed far more strikes, threw more strikes, and landed a higher percentage of said strikes. These are also facts.
Let’s wrap this up by just giving it a few days and not getting ourselves spun into a knot. We’ll get answers soon; of this, I’m sure. I’m confident we’ll see St. Pierre/Hendricks II, and the score will be settled.