Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre said Friday an eye injury has prevented him from moving the timetable up for his anticipated fight with Michael Bisping.
Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting reported UFC tried to schedule the encounter for July, but GSP declined and said he wouldn't be ready until the end of the year. Now he's finally provided a reason for his hard-line stance on the bout's date.
"Trust me, I'm not the kind of guy who thinks, 'Hey, I'm going to make everybody wait for me. I don't want to fight during the summer, I want to take my time," he said. "That's not the reason. If it were up to me, I would come back. The reason is I had a problem with my eye. I had an injury."
St-Pierre claimed UFC officials knew about the ailment, but attempted to "pressure" him into accelerating his recovery efforts so he could fight in July. He declined the request because his eyesight still hasn't returned to full strength, according to MMA Fighting.
"My vision has not been back yet. It will be back. It's something very minor," he said. "The doctor insisted for me that I don't spar until September."
St-Pierre has won his last 12 fights dating back to loss against Matt Serra in April 2007 before taking a hiatus starting in late 2013. His most recent triumph came in the form of a split decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 163 to retain the welterweight title before later vacating it.
Meanwhile, Bisping is also sidelined now because of a knee injury. He previously engaged in verbal warfare with the returning star, as noted by Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times in March. It created some buzz for the potential fight before their setbacks brought it into question.
"While you were away, because you were so scared of everybody taking steroids, I was man enough to still fight those guys," Bisping said. "You went away to chase aliens—I don't know what you did—and now you're coming back with the sport at a different place. Game over."
Helwani reported both sides are "hopeful" the fight is eventually going to take place, perhaps in late 2017, but the decision ultimately rests with UFC president Dana White.