Not so fast. Before you start fantasy booking Georges St. Pierre against anyone outside the UFC, consider the fact that despite his claims to the contrary, UFC doesn’t consider GSP a free agent.
In the evening after GSP went on Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” and declared his UFC contract terminated, his (former?) employer released a contrite statement refuting his claims. “Georges St. Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his MMA promoter. Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St. Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St. Pierre do the same.”
The statement is interesting in the double speak it presents in so few words. From one side of their mouth, UFC is saying that they intend to honor their agreement or, in other words, give him a fight. From the other side of their mouth, there is a thinly veiled threat of legal action when they say they reserve the rights under the law or, in other words, GSP has to fight under the conditions of his old contract.
It has become clear the past 24 hours that this isn’t a cut and dry situation where UFC is just allowing GSP to walk away and test free agency as they did with Rory MacDonald recently. There has been a lot of posturing going on, and yesterday’s events are just both sides stepping it up a notch.
GSP’s future with UFC is still uncertain, but one thing we can be sure of is that he won’t be fighting on UFC 206 in Toronto. Tickets went on sale today for Fight Club members with Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson doing the media rounds in Toronto, and with cage side seats going for under $300 they aren’t asking GSP-level money for tickets.
There is another UFC 206 pre-sale Wednesday morning for email newsletter subscribers with the public on-sale being on Thursday at which point we should have a better idea of how well UFC can draw in Toronto without GSP.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: One thing I hope doesn’t happen is for this to become a drawn out court battle that goes on for years with no one winning in the end. There has to be a dollar figure that both can be happy with, so let’s hope they can find it. If this is about the Reebok deal and that’s the biggest hurdle, then that is really unfortunate and something UFC should have been better prepared for when they entered this partnership. If their idea of preparing for it was to just tell fighters that have to live with the new Reebok deal whether they have better deals with competitors or not, then they were bound to find themselves in this situation once someone with the financial security to just walk away was faced with the dilemma. GSP is that person. GSP is an important figure to the sport and, even if he only has a few fights left in him, those are three big fights. Both Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey are a loss or two away from not meaning as much as they do now, so UFC should be looking to lock in all of the money draws that they can.
TUESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Josh Samman’s cause of death will officially be ruled a probable drug overdose according to TMZ. A toxicology report was not completed, but the medical examiner made the determination based on the circumstances surrounding Samman’s discovery and subsequent death.
-Tito Ortiz and Cris Cyborg have both been bashing Ronda Rousey to TMZ. Ortiz opined that Rousey is scared of Cyborg and “300 percent” expects her to lose to Amanda Nunes while Cyborg said Rousey doesn’t have the metaphorical “balls” to fight her.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP…
-Thomas Almeida vs. Albert Morales at UFC Fight Night: Sao Paulo on Nov. 19.
-Jordan Mein vs. Emil Meek at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 from Toronto.
-Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine is close to being made for UFC 207 on Dec. 30 from Las Vegas according to Ariel Helwani at MMA Fighting.
-Kevin Ross vs. Alessio Arduini, Joe Schilling vs. Victorio Lermano, and Karim Ghajji vs. Luca Novello will highlight the kickboxing portion of the Bellator show from Florence, Italy on Dec. 10.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 10/17: GSP explains why he is done with UFC and how close he came to a return, Notebook items (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)