WHERE DOES GSP-UFC RELATIONSHIP STAND?
Yesterday’s announcement of the official launch of the MMA Athletes Association left a lot of talking points coming out of the two-hour conference call. One major talking point that has very little to do with the association itself is the fighting status of Georges St-Pierre.
GSP had previously announced that he is now a free agent, a proclamation UFC very much disagreed with, and besides a short video admitting to a meeting with UFC brass, we’ve heard little on the contract front from GSP since.
During yesterday’s call, GSP said he trusts his lawyer’s characterization of his status. “My lawyer, he’s the best in this kind of situation,” GSP said. “He told me I’m a free agent. So I am a free agent from my side of the situation. We have very strong evidence that I’m a free agent. Very confident. That’s all I can say.”
These words, while not absolute, are consistent with his previous statement in that it puts much of the responsibility for his status on his lawyer. He first announced his free agency back in October on “The MMA Hour.”
As for what the “evidence” might be that makes him a free agent, only he and his lawyers know right now. Regardless, now that he is a leading figure in a group trying to unify MMA fighters and cut into UFC’s profits, don’t expect to see St-Pierre in a UFC cage anytime soon.
Be sure to read MMATorch editor Wade Keller’s detailed report of yesterday’s “industry re-defining” conference call.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I can’t say that this closes the door on GSP’s UFC career, but it’s certainly a step closer. I find it interesting that he is now hedging just a little bit when he says he’s “a free agent from my side of the situation,” basically admitting that he thinks he’s a free agent but he knows from UFC’s and potentially a legal perspective, he’s not a free agent.
As for the MMAAA, it’s hard to grasp how much influence it’s really going to have. They said that they aren’t going to seek out full legal union status, so that will take away much of the leverage they could gain in securing collective bargaining and some of the other demands they are making. That said, if they get enough fighters on board, and big name fighters at that, they can get something done without legal union status. Conor McGregor has shown over the past year or so that a valuable fighter can get more money if he or she asks for it and if they are willing to sit out in order to get what they want. If enough big name fighters get on board and refuse to take fights until the MMAAA demands are met, something could get done. This could get ugly, or it could go nowhere. Time, and who blinks first, will tell.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-UFC’s official response to the MMAAA announcement: “We respect all of our athletes and are always open and willing to hear their thoughts on how to improve the sport.” (SOURCE)
-Conor McGregor has been issued a boxing license in California but was apparently denied a license in Nevada, fueling speculation that he is pursuing a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
-Dana White explained his reasoning for stripping Conor McGregor of his Featherweight Championship to Yahoo Sports. “Look, I let Conor fight [Nate] Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again,” White said of matches at UFC 196 and UFC 202, respectively, that the fighters split. “Then there was the whole 155-pound thing I let him do. But at the end of the day, him doing that tied up the division for a year. There’s a logjam there and a lot of guys were [angry].”
-Tim Elliott officially won last night’s finals of The Ultimate Fighter and will challenge Demetrious Johnson this Saturday for the UFC flyweight championship. In a Facebook Live chat last night, Elliott said “I’m gonna try to hit him in the face more than he hits me in the face. Get awkward, get funky and make it ugly.”
-UFC has rescheduled (read: cancelled) the January 21 UFC 208 show from Anaheim. Tickets were set to go on sale this week but no main event had been announced. UFC will return to Anaheim in August and the Brooklyn show set for February will now be UFC 208. (SOURCE)
–Saturday’s UFC Fight Night on FS1 averaged 686,000 viewers.
-There will be no public “ceremonial” weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night Albany. Footage of the morning weigh-ins will be posted on UFC.com later in the day before the Dec. 9 card. (SOURCE)
-Tonya Evinger won her appeal of her loss to Yana Kunitskaya and the fight has been deemed a no-contest meaning Evinger is again/still the Invicta bantamweight champion. Evinger had been instructed by the referee to take her foot off of Kunitskaya’s face while trying to escape an armbar, which lead her to submit. The foot on the face for leverage was a legal maneuver. Invicta president Shannon Knapp said she will work to book an immediate rematch.
-Goiti Yamauchi vs. Valeriu Mircea is set for Bellator 168 from Florence, Italy on Dec. 10.
Watch Joseph Benavidez watch Demetrious Johnson blitz Henry Cejudo earlier this year.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/30: Kelvin Gastelum to fight at UFC 206 after suspension replaced with fine (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)