Georges St-Pierre is returning to the Octagon later this year, and he will challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan is not a fan of that decision.
Rogan's disagreement stems from a "purist point of view." The longtime UFC commentator said, "If you're going to have a champion and you're gonna have these divisions where one man rules over the division, there should be a very clear hierarchy."
Does he have a point?
Yoel Romero was next in line for a title shot and had a feud starting to boil with Bisping. Now that gets put on hold for an undisclosed amount of time. The former Olympian is on an eight-fight win streak, whereas GSP has not fought since November 2013.
The Bisping-GSP clash does put a hold on the middleweight contenders who have been competing regularly, while GSP steps in at a new weight for a title shot right away. Perhaps this is just the new reality under WME-IMG. Name value and pay-per-view drawing ability will always trump current rankings.
Bisping to Romero: "If he's so good, then just keep beating people." Says he'll fight Yoel six weeks after GSP, because GSP won't hurt him.2017-3-3 22:41:05
In short, spectacle will always topple sport.
Rogan is firmly in the sporting camp. He continued on in the podcast saying, "If you're gonna do this whole interim title thing and you're gonna have guys come back after being out of the sport for three years and get a shot right at the title, why have f--king championships at all."
He did call the Bisping-GSP bout a great fight, and it is. However, this is a larger argument about the UFC and upholding a semblance of sport. Championships mean something, but giving out title shots to fighters who haven't fought in over three years diminishes the meaning of the entire division.
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
If Fertitta's still ran the UFC, not WME/IMG, would GSP be fighting Bisping? Or does it happen either way?2017-3-1 17:52:44
For Bisping, GSP and the UFC, it makes sense. It is a money fight and the biggest fight they could do in the division. It's something everyone understands, but it forces Romero and the rest of the middleweights into a holding pattern. Especially since GSP will not commit to defending the title belt.
Rogan is a purist and a lover of keeping MMA a sport. He has a great argument for the dangers of this type of matchmaking, but money will always speak loudest. Principally when an entity spends $4 billion for the UFC.