Georges St-Pierre may one day regret vacating his UFC title and taking an indefinite leave from MMA.
Time and time again, UFC President Dana White has hammered fighters with the proverbial sermon of fighting being a young man’s game.
The sand is always draining from a small hourglass, encapsulating the majority of an athlete’s livelihood. White encourages fighters to work hard, enjoy the ride and make as much money as they possibly can.
"What people don’t realize when you’re in the moment, and your time is now, guys don’t realize until it’s over," he said during a post-fight media scrum at the The Ultimate Fighter Nations finale. "You will never make that kind of money again for the rest of your life. You should fight as much as you can possibly fight, get as popular as you can possibly get and make as much money as you possibly can."
Regarded as the greatest welterweight in MMA history, St-Pierre announced in December 2013 he was vacating the UFC title and stepping away from fighting. His decision to hang up the gloves came shortly after a controversial split-decision win over Johny Hendricks.
There was a slight chance St-Pierre would opt to never fight again, but the general consensus was that the former champ just needed a little time away to clear the cobwebs before making his grand return to the UFC.
Then news broke of St-Pierre’s ACL injury, his second in three years:
Tore my left ACL in training. Surgery in a few days. Rehab, pain, hard work, no shortcuts- I'll soon be back at 100%. Thanks for the support— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) March 27, 2014
Initially, White seemed convinced St-Pierre would one day return to the UFC, but following the recent setback, he isn’t quite so sure anymore.
“I have no idea,” White told MMAFighting.com. “It’s tough to come back. I just think giving up your belt is crazy, and then you have a plan, I’m going to give up the belt, I’m going to take some time off, I’m going to handle my stuff and come back, and then you blow your ACL out. You never know. Life throws all these curveballs at you, you never know what’s going to happen.”
St-Pierre likely won’t be hurting for money anytime soon.
During a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, UFC commentator Joe Rogan revealed the 32-year-old star was making $5 million per fight. St-Pierre was also cast in Marvel’s recent blockbuster hit movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Despite his earning power, there is still some validity to White’s comments. The welterweight division is arguably the most competitive weight class in MMA. It’s a lot to ask of St-Pierre to come back from a second ACL injury and pick up where he left off.
For years, fans have pondered who would finally oust St-Pierre and close the chapter on one of the greatest championship reigns in UFC history.
Few could have ever imagined that he might end up being the culprit behind his own undoing.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.