For the second time leading up to successive championship bouts, Georges St. Pierre has been forced to pull out, this time due to a completely torn ACL in his right knee as well as MCL damage.
Through no fault of his own, the UFC welterweight champion has now broken down twice (due to knee injuries) in as many months.
First he was scheduled to throw down with Nick Diaz in October at UFC 137, but that went up in smoke as the latter was bounced from the event following his no-show at several press junkets.
Carlos Condit was then fast-tracked to the rank of No. 1 contender, and that’s when St. Pierre’s troubles began.
Nonetheless, the proposed bout with the aforementioned was called off after St. Pierre suffered an injury to the same knee that has caused this latest setback.
Needless to say, Diaz was later reinstated as No. 1 contender after he defeated B.J Penn in the main event of UFC 137. And with a little trash-talking from the Stockton native to help things along, St. Pierre vs. Diaz was forthwith slated for Super Bowl weekend.
His recent injury, however, has put a halt to that, and Diaz will once again take centre stage at UFC 143 alongside Condit, only this time for the interim welterweight belt.
Therein lies the problem: By the time St. Pierre gets back to the Octagon, the total amount of time he’d have spent on the sidelines could be anything up to 18 months or more.
So, whomsoever is interim champion at the time will have two choices—either wait for St. Pierre to make a full recovery and then fight for the belt or keep that momentum going, hence risking their interim status.
The 209 son, I’m sure Diaz will vouch for the latter if he wins his bout with Condit (maybe Condit will as well).
The bottom line is this: St. Pierre should be stripped off the title whilst Diaz and Condit should be allowed to duke it out for the honors. And whenever he recuperates from his injuries, he’ll have first refusal to fight for the belt regardless of who is champion at the time or due to any other underlying circumstances.
I’m quite aware that anyone in his position would take absolute umbrage to having what they’ve worked so hard for ripped from their grasp.
Be that as it may, what’s the difference? Not a lot really, apart from the fact that this time he’ll be the challenger and still the main attraction.
Also, St. Pierre will be in a championship bout, only this time he’ll be fighting to regain his crown. If he’s determined to recapture that glory, as I think he will be, then maybe this time he might actually finish a fight.
We might see a new and improved St. Pierre with the “Rush” moniker firmly placed in between his handles.
Of course the downside is, once a champion has attained glory, they’ll make damn sure to hold on to it for as long as possible, which again brings me back to how much would St. Pierre wants his title back?
Enough to go all out and end things in dramatic fashion.
Still, I wholly understand that he’s a pay-per-view magnet for the UFC hierarchy, but it stands to reason that a championship bout will garner more interest than a non-title bout or interim match.
And since the Zuffa-based company is all about dollars and cents, then it makes sense.
I would go so far as to say that interim titles are the worst-kept secret, but they're irrelevant and a waste of time.
At UFC 143, Diaz and Condit should be vying for the vacant UFC Welterweight title and not the interim title.