The biggest UFC fight on the table for 2017 has been canceled, and that might be a good thing.
UFC President Dana White appeared on Fox Sports Australia on Wednesday and dropped the news that the Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre fight for the UFC Middleweight Title is off. The fight was announced back in March but never had a finalized date or venue.
“I made this GSP fight, we did a press conference,” White said on the Australian “Fight Week” show via satellite. “The thing was supposed to happen in July. Michael Bisping is going to have to defend his title now [against someone else]. We’re not waiting for GSP.”
The delay in firming up a date for the fight appears to be St-Pierre’s responsibility as, just last week, GSP released a statement saying that Bisping can pick the date of their fight “any time after October.” It’s clear now that UFC wasn’t on board with such a delay that would put a full year in between UFC Middleweight Title defenses.
With this development, it’s safe to expect to see Bisping defend his title sometime in the summer months and White already has an opponent in mind. “(Yoel Romero) doesn’t need to voice his opinion on why he needs a title shot,” White proclaimed. “He definitely deserves a title shot. He’s next in line, he’s the number one ranked guy in the world.”
Bisping has been wary of a fight with Romero since he won the championship last June, calling the “Soldier of God” a “cheater” for suspected performance-enhancing drug use. There was one point recently when Bisping expressed interest in a fight with Romero, but he has yet to speak out one way or another since White made the announcement that the GSP fight is off.
Bisping may not have much say, though, as it sounds like Dana White has his mind made up on what’s next in the Middleweight Division. “We’re not waiting for Georges St-Pierre anymore. We’re moving on with the division, and Yoel Romero will get the next shot.” (SOURCE)
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I was probably willing to wait a little longer than most to see this fight, but the negativity from fighters and fans was beginning to overwhelm any anticipation for GSP’s return, so this is the right move. Bisping vs. Romero can now be made to headline UFC 213 on July 8 or as a backup plan for Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier on July 29. It will be interesting to see how GSP responds to this news. Will this further delay his comeback or will he be willing to take another fight in the fall? Anderson Silva isn’t booked, so that could be a big enough fight to make him happy. Or perhaps GSP will want to fight Bisping later this year whether there is a title on the line or not. One other thing to keep an eye on is Conor McGregor. Dana White has shifted from being optimistic about the McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight happening to becoming sour on the negotiations and saying the fight may never happen. If McGregor finds himself available for a UFC fight in the fall, the sudden cancellation of Bisping-GSP starts to make a lot of sense.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-UFC strawweight Jessica Penne has been flagged for a potential USADA violation. It is a unique situation where she was tested out of competition on March 20 and everything came back clean. Then after some further analysis of Penne’s “Biological Passport,” she was flagged for “an increased degree of variability in urinary biomarkers.” An athlete’s biological passport consists of baseline levels of certain variables that are measured over time. Penne’s levels for whatever she was flagged for must have come back in a normal range from the March 20 test but when compared to her past results, there must have been a big enough variance from her normal level to trigger the flagging.
-Henry Cejudo is injured and has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout with Sergio Pettis this weekend at UFC 211. No replacement is available for Cejudo so Pettis is off the card. Cejudo told MMA Fighting that he has a cyst in his wrist and UFC doctors recommended he not fight. Krzysztof Jotko vs. David Branch will be moved from the FX prelims to the main card on pay-per-view and Jared Gordon vs. Michel Quinones has been bumped up from Fight Pass to FX.
-Daniel Cormier is claiming on Twitter that Jon Jones has yet to sign the contract for their bout tentatively scheduled for UFC 214 on July 29.
-Michael “Venom” Page has suffered a knee injury and is out of his scheduled fight with Derek Anderson at Bellator 179 next week.
-Demetrious Johnson, who had previously claimed that UFC didn’t allow him to keep the championship belts awarded to him after his 10 title defenses, was able to take the picture he had requested with his ten championship belts. He shared the photo on Instagram with the caption “GOLD!!”
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP…
-Tim Elliott is stepping in for an injured Joseph Benavidez to fight Ben Nguyen at UFC Fight Night Auckland on June 11.
-Neil Seery will fight Alexandre Pantoja in Seery’s retirement fight at UFC Fight Night Glasgow on July 16.
-Dooho Choi vs. Andre Fili at UFC 214 on July 29 from Anaheim, CA.
Check out Stipe Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem in one of the best fights of 2016: CLICK HERE