FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST: Dana White confirms deal with GSP, says they worked a long time and it’s finally done (w/Keller’s Analysis)

By Wade Keller, MMATorch editor

Dana White went on record confirming reports that George St. Pierre had reached terms to return to UFC with a multi-fight agreement. “He’s back. I’m excited,” White told the Los Angeles Times. “We worked at it for a long time and finally got it done.”

GSP’s last fight was a 2013 battle with Johny Hendricks, who fights this weekend on UFC Fight Night on FS1. (Read our full fight card preview HERE.)

White says he has no idea when or whom he’s going to fight first. “We don’t have anything booked and literally haven’t talked to anybody about it,” he told the Times. “It could be the winner [of the March 4 UFC Welterweight Title fight] between Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, or it could be [UFC Middleweight Champion] Michael Bisping. Georges has also talked about fighting at 155 pounds [lightweight]. He says he can make the weight.”

Keller’s Analysis: GSP had spoken out against what he argued was a weak UFC testing procedure for performance-enhancing drugs. Now that UFC is aligned with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, GSP may feel enough has changed to justify his return. What has also changed is the lack of big names for UFC to promote in big fights. Although Jon Jones returns this summer, the extended and perhaps permanent hiatuses of top stars from Conor McGregor to Ronda Rousey to Brock Lesnar and even Nate Diaz, plus a lack of emerging stars who seem ready to break through as top draws, UFC had incentive to sweeten the pot for GSP. This year could have ended up being UFC’s worst in many years in terms of PPV buys and TV ratings without something to spark interest. GSP should do that, regardless of whom he fights first.


-One other potential big PPV draw just got freed up to fight for UFC on PPV this year. Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the USADA announced today, has been given a retroactive exemption for her use of a banned diuretic for medical reasons. She released a statement expressing relief and anticipation for a big return to the Octagon. She wrote: “I am extremely happy. I look forward to returning to the octagon as soon as possible and proving that I am still the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.” Meanwhile, Dana White called it “a great day.” He confirmed the obvious, also: “The fight everyone wants to see now is Germaine and Cyborg. That’ll be a great thing.”

-UFC Strawweight Women’s Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk tells TMZ she’d bet money on Conor McGregor beating Floyd Mayweather. “Of course I would put money on Conor, but it’s going to be a very difficult fight, it’s a different fight than MMA fight. The fight is going to be in the ring and not in the Octagon, so it’s completely different.”

-If Mayweather stepped into the UFC Octagon with Conor, Jay Glazer told TMZ he wouldn’t last as long as an NBA 24 second shot clock.

-On the FITE app this weekend, Warrior Xtreme Cagefighting 67 premieres tonight featuring Jesse Bazzi vs. Jared Scoggins. XFN 13 is on Saturday with Claxton vs. Dorsey followed by Asylum Fight League 53 with Zack Krulikoski vs. Will Dill.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UDPATE: THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/16: Holm files letter of appeal to NYSAC over late punches, Brunson plans to appeal too (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)


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