If Freddie Roach had things his way, Georges St-Pierre would leave the UFC and sign with another promotion.
The longtime boxing trainer wasn’t happy with UFC President Dana White’s comments about the former welterweight champ, following his UFC 167 title bout with Johny Hendricks.
St-Pierre, who broke the record that night for most time spent in the Octagon, was awarded a highly controversial split decision over Hendricks. Bloodied and battered, St-Pierre congratulated Hendricks on a great fight and announced he would be taking an indefinite hiatus from fighting in his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
Shortly after the fight, White stormed into the press conference refuting the decision and claiming St-Pierre “owed it to the UFC and fans” to give Hendricks a rematch. The comments generated a lot of heat for the UFC considering St-Pierre is arguably the greatest fighter of all time and a consistent company man.
Whether fans agreed with the decision or not, you would be hard pressed to find an individual who didn’t find the fight exciting. St-Pierre stepped into the cage that night and put it all on the line like he has for so many years. How could he possibly still owe anyone anything?
On December 13, St-Pierre announced during a media conference call that he would be vacating the welterweight title and hanging up his MMA gloves indefinitely.
Roach, St-Pierre’s striking coach, recently told Layzie the Savage on Fight Hub TV that he would advise St-Pierre to leave the UFC, especially after the way he was treated by White:
It’s really easy to make a decision after a tough fight like that and after Dana talking bad about him, getting him depressed a little bit and dragging him down. Most promoters would try to build you back up, but Dana’s not that kind of cat.
I was a little bit mad at Dana for [putting Georges down]. …I’d think about going to another company if that was me, but there’s really a monopoly in the UFC. It’s like the only game in town. It is the big time, and I’m sure if Georges wants to come back, Dana would be the first one to invite him.
The idea of St-Pierre standing up for himself and sticking it to the man sounds good in theory, but in reality, the former champ is still under contract with the UFC. Contractual obligations don’t just disappear when an athlete retires or goes on an extended leave.
They are put on hold just in case the athlete ever makes the decision to return and compete again.
This simply means St-Pierre will be forced to resume his career in the UFC to finish out his contact, if and whenever he returns to fighting.
Some might remember a similar case involving UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. The UFC refused to release its heavyweight star from the last two fights on his contract and took the case to court for a year-long battle. In the end, Couture honored his earlier agreement and ended up signing a new deal with the UFC.
St-Pierre is by far the biggest pay-per-view draw in UFC history.
If they were willing to go to battle with Couture, you better believe White and company are prepared to fight tooth and nail to ensure St-Pierre finishes out his contract.