Georges St-Pierre is finally back in mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, and may already have his second fight official.
St-Pierre is set to return to the UFC on a fresh new multi-fight deal he signed earlier this year, and will make his debut at 185 pounds to challenge division champion Michael Bisping for the title. The fight is expected to go down from Madison Square Garden in New York City at UFC 217 on pay-per-view (PPV) on November 4, 2017. It has been a while since the middleweight title was defended, which is why an interim title was implemented just last month.
Robert Whittaker defeated Cuban powerhouse Yoel Romero in a five round thriller in the main event of UFC 213 on PPV to win the interim strap, earning himself a guaranteed unification bout with whoever the title holder is down the road.
St-Pierre recently appeared on The MMA Hour to announce that in his bout agreement to fight Bisping, he is contractually obligated to defend the middleweight title against Whitaker if he is successful. Bisping took to his podcast, Believe You Me, to react to this news and noted that St-Pierre could possibly retire once again if he is able to defeat him in order to avoid fighting Whittaker (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“All that stops Georges from doing - Georges is still in the position of power, much as I don’t like to admit that. Listen, I’m fighting GSP and I have a fan base and people like to watch me fight or people like to see me get knocked out.
"Win or lose, people do tune in. But GSP is a big name and he brings the huge Canadian market with him and that’s what the UFC are after. They want all those Canadians to start buying the pay-per-views again.
"From what I’m hearing, pay-per-view sales in Canada haven’t been doing too well lately so they want GSP to come back and they want all those people, all those lumberjacks to start buying the Pay-Per-Views again.
“If, God forbid, he beats me, he has it in the contract that he has to fight Robert Whittaker. But he can retire. He can retire if he wants. They cannot force you to fight. So let’s say he was to say, ‘I retire’ and then say, ‘Hey, listen, I’ll come out of retirement to fight at 170 [pounds]. UFC, do you want to sell all those pay-per-views again, yes or no?
"It’s up to you.’ So really . . . one would assume that he can really do what he wants. They can’t force him to fight.”
“[St-Pierre]’s in the position of power, really. Of course Dana’s the promoter, the UFC are the promoters but we’re the fighters and GSP has that Canadian market that buys pay-per-views. Unfortunately for me, I’ve got a fantastic following in the U.K. - I have a great following and God bless you all - but the way it’s structured in the U.K., we get the UFC for free.
"There’s no pay-per-view so there’s limited - it’s a big attraction to the UFC to have the U.K. market but to have the Canadian market that has a history of buying pay-per-views, you pay for the UFC in Canada so that’s more beneficial to the UFC.”
What are your thoughts on the clause in St-Pierre's contract, requiring him to defend his title against Robbert Whittaker if successful against Bisping? Have YOUR say in the comments section below!
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