Many considered it a knee-jerk reaction and a misstep for UFC president Dana White to harshly criticize Georges St-Pierre following his controversial win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
But more than two weeks have passed since he made his bold post-fight comments regarding the longtime welterweight champ, and White still firmly stands by his sentiments.
White offered insight on rumors started by St-Pierre's trusted mentor Kristof Midoux during an interview with MMAJunkie's John Morgan on Saturday. He quickly dispelled the claims Midoux made in Le Journal De Quebec that he re-watched the St-Pierre-Hendricks bout or that he apologized to "GSP."
"I had heard that, but no, that’s not true. I have not watched the fight yet. I still haven't watched the fight. This (Midoux) guy's like one of the new Kardashian sisters. This guy pops up out of nowhere, and now he's everywhere."
Showing a continued lack of remorse for the man he's repeatedly called the company's most significant pay-per-view draw, White then sounded off on St-Pierre's seemingly limited future options by saying:
"Realistically, I'm not forcing Georges to do anything, but Georges has to defend his title. He was off for over a year already with ACL surgery. So if people have problems with it, I could (not) give a s*** if they like it or don't. I don't care what peoples' opinions of that are."
Midoux, a veteran of one UFC fight who holds a 6-10 pro record, apparently fabricated the following tale about White backtracking on his words on Nov. 22 to Le Journal De Quebec:
"Few people know it, but the next morning (White) called Georges and told him, ‘I’m sorry, I watched the fight again and you have indeed won. I spoke under the influence of emotion.'"
Shortly thereafter, White expressed his displeasure for the situation and St-Pierre's split-decision win during the UFC 167 post-fight press conference.
"Does anybody here think that Johny Hendricks didn’t win the fight? I’m blown away that Georges St-Pierre won that fight. And listen, I’m a promoter. He’s the biggest pay-per-view star on the f***ing planet for me, and I still don’t think he won that fight."
White always has strong opinions, and he rarely regrets acting on impulse. In this case, the UFC's czar seems determined to maintain control over his most prolific money maker.
But if St-Pierre's already on the verge of stepping away, then a cold ultimatum from White certainly won't help persuade him to stay.
White must allow GSP to soul search and genuinely decide whether he wants to continue adding to his 12-fight winning streak or forfeit his belt.
Regardless of his decision, St-Pierre still has plenty to prove in the welterweight division. After all, he's only beaten four of the UFC's Top 10 welterweights, with one of those wins coming against Hendricks.