Georges St. Pierre Won't Compete in the Olympics

Darren WongSenior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2010

TORONTO - FEBRUARY 5:  Ultimate Fighter Georges St-Pierre attends the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Florida Panthers during a fight during their NHL game at the Air Canada Centre February 5, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Fans of Georges St. Pierre and of MMA are very excited about the possibility of St. Pierre's Olympic aspirations.

Sorry to burst your bubbles, but it ain't happening, and that's a something we should be happy about.

There were lots of reasons to want St. Pierre to go to the Olympics. Going to the Olympics might bring some great mainstream exposure to the sport of MMA if one of its most popular fighters were to have success at the Games.

Furthermore, fans of St. Pierre probably recognized that it would be a great note on his resume were he to make the Canadian Olympic team and have success at the Games.

Ultimately, the cost of such an endeavor will be just too much for St. Pierre, and he'll choose MMA.

In fact, St. Pierre has already chosen MMA over the Olympic dream on a previous occasion, before UFC 79. At the time, St. Pierre was attempting to qualify for the Olympics, but dropped that dream when he accepted a spot as a late replacement for the injured Matt Serra.

Over two years later, if the situation has changed, it only makes more sense now for St. Pierre to stay in MMA.

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Even as little as two years ago, the UFC and the sport of MMA were still not nearly as big as they have become today.

A few years ago, a move into the Olympics might have generated a little bit more legitimacy to the sport of MMA, but at the present time, MMA hardly needs any additional legitimacy.

MMA has since exploded, and to say that St. Pierre is one of the sport's biggest stars doesn't even begin to describe his place in the sport. St. Pierre might just have more potential to bring the sport of MMA to the mainstream than anybody else.

Brock Lesnar certainly has some mass appeal, but he doesn't have the same kind of squeaky-clean image that St. Pierre brings.

It's no coincidence that St. Pierre was the first UFC fighter to become sponsored by Under Armour and Gatorade. Whatever it is that allows a person to become a crossover star, St. Pierre has it. And as St. Pierre becomes more popular, he brings the sport of MMA along with him.

Aside from commercial opportunities, potential fights in the future for GSP include a third match with BJ Penn, a possible super-fight with Anderson Silva, and a string of fights that could make him the longest-reigning welterweight champion in UFC history.

None of those things will happen if he's not competing in MMA over the next few years.

There have been other figures who have crossed over from one pursuit to another, but few have made such a significant investment of time.

Most competitions are a little bit friendlier to superstars in their fields. The ADCC tournament, for example, allows some MMA fighters to skip the qualification process, so that they don't need to put their careers on hold. There is no such shortcut for St. Pierre.

Many people with knowledge of the Olympic qualifying process have said that St. Pierre would need to devote as much as 18 months singularly toward wrestling if he were going to make the Olympic team.

Add on to that time the complicated scheduling of UFC fights, and the training time it will take for GSP to get back into MMA after his Olympic pursuit, and we could be talking about an absence from MMA lasting longer than two years in the prime of his career.

Even if the Olympic gold medal were a sure thing, which it isn't by any means, it would still be a tremendous investment of time.

Other than being more lucrative, and probably better for the sport, St. Pierre's decision to stay in MMA will also be a better use of his abilities.

St. Pierre is lauded for his wrestling abilities, but the reason that he is so successful with his wrestling in MMA is not because of his wrestling by itself, but because he mixes his wrestling into his overall game better than anybody else.

Frankly, St. Pierre's ability to integrate his multiple skills is far more valuable than his wrestling skill alone.

There have been many great wrestlers who have tried their hand at MMA, but have only met with limited success.

Olympic gold medalist Karam Gaber lost brutally in his first MMA fight.

U.S. Olympic alternate Chael Sonnen has had some success in MMA, but has never really fully absorbed the submission grappling game, or even striking for that matter.

Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland has also had some success, but even in his prime, his wrestling was no match for the submission grappling skill of Murilo Bustamante.

I find it very hard to believe that St. Pierre is a better wrestler than either Gaber or Lindland, and yet St. Pierre is inarguably far better suited for MMA. MMA is where he should stay.

I'm pretty sure that St. Pierre feels the same way, but doesn't want to say anything in absolute terms until he is completely sure of his decision.

Randy Couture was asked a question about St. Pierre in a recent interview with the Las Vegas Sun, and said as much himself, having talked to St. Pierre about it at length.

"I don't think he wants to do that," Couture said. "He's a fighter and he realizes he's a fighter. He's obviously done a great job with wrestling in the fight game. But first and foremost he feels like a fighter and he thinks the whole thing has been blown out of proportion by the media."

The interview with Randy Couture really says everything that you need to know.

St. Pierre has become such a huge star in MMA that when people talk to UFC Hall of Famer Couture, they ask him questions about GSP.

Couture is a former Olympic alternate himself, and is the exact example of the kind of a person who is a much better fighter than he is a wrestler.

Couture's career is hardly incomplete due to him never having won an Olympic medal.

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