Georges St-Pierre's Octagon return is taking longer than expected.
It was announced earlier this year that the former welterweight kingpin had re-signed a fresh, new multi-fight deal with the UFC and would be taking on Michael Bisping for the 185-pound title in his middleweight debut at a date not yet announced. Due to some hurdles with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), however, St-Pierre's return date could not bee determined.
"Rush" took to Instagram a few weeks ago and issued a message to Michael Bisping, saying he'd be ready to fight the Englishman anytime after October. This apparently upset UFC President Dana White, who said that was too long a timeframe and called the fight off.
White claimed that St-Pierre would instead challenge the welterweight champion when he is ready to return and that No. 1-ranked Yoel Romero would get the next middleweight title shot.
St-Pierre got the opportunity to respond to White's canceling of his fight at the C2 Montréal conference, where the Canadian revealed that it was actually an eye injury that delayed his return (quotes via MMA Fighting):
"Trust me, I'm not the kind of guy who thinks, 'Hey, I'm going to make everybody wait for me. I don't want to fight during the summer, I want to take my time ...'
"That's not the reason. If it were up to me, I would come back. The reason is I had a problem with my eye. I had an injury."
"My vision has not been back yet. It will be back. It's something very minor. The doctor insisted for me that I don't spar until September."
"The UFC was aware of it,” St-Pierre said. “They knew I couldn't fight during the summer, but they still insisted on doing that press conference with Michael Bisping.
"And when it happened, we were not very excited about the idea, but we wanted that fight, so we decided to do it, but then it turned into a negative thing because it took so long.
"But UFC knew. Everyone knew. The people concerned knew that that was the case, but they still tried to put pressure on me to fight in July. That's the reason why I'm coming out public today about the reason why I'm not fighting this summer."
"I always said that if I was coming back to fight, it needed to be a fight that excites me. I wanted to fight Michael Bisping because I wanted to fight someone that could elevate me.
"Michael Bisping is the champion now, and I think that he could elevate me as much as I could elevate him. I'm taking a huge risk coming back. I'm putting my legacy on the line."
What are your thoughts on St-Pierre saying that an eye injury has been what's keeping him out of the Octagon? Let us know in the comments section below!
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