Say it ain’t so – will St. Pierre walk away from the sport?

Start either holding your breath or begin reflecting: if you believe a man very close to Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre, we may very well be seeing the last of the great welterweight this Saturday.

Kristof Midoux, a man who mentored GSP at the age of 16 and remains close to the champion, believes there is a chance that GSP walks away from the sport on Saturday night. Midoux makes a convincing case and has told St. Pierre it’s a decision he supports.

The reasons he mentions GSP may retire are numerous, practical and logical.

Midoux says GSP wants to open a martial arts school. That move would be both a way for him to stay in the game and would likely be a lucrative venture as his reputation alone would attract aspiring fighters in droves.

As well, St. Piere is cognisant of friend and fellow Canadian Rory MacDonald’s rise in the ranks. He even tows the patriot line by saying, “Help Rory become a champion to show that Canadians dominate this weight class.” As anyone can attest, people have strong ties to their national heritage. In sports, pride in one’s country is common. The notable part of that is how he mentions that it would fall in line with St. Pierre’s character in that, “It would be generous and Georges is generous.”

Perhaps most convincingly, GSP wishes to have a family – while he’s young. Midoux says St. Pierre is very realistic when it comes to that fact. He knows that having a family is difficult to remain at the top of the game. But it’s the last bit of the quote that’s extremely intriguing:

“It’s not true that you can have a family and children and remain at the highest level of the sport. He took my advice.”

Nowhere in the interview does he provide context to what ‘advice’ he is speaking of. Has GSP taken his advice to start a family and is in the process? Has GSP taken all of his advice? If that’s true, we’re looking at a man who has taken action and not only spoken of it. Actions speak far louder than words.

In addition to this interview, the rumblings about St. Pierre’s retirement have been steady for some time. His coach has mentioned it and even he has mentioned it. Key factors have been that St. Pierre is financially secure and is a strong enough brand to remain as such even in retirement. In his last few fights, he has taken more punishment than he is accustomed to.

The sport is a dangerous and fickle one.Unlike other sports, where a competitor on top of his game generally degrades over time in front of our eyes, an MMA practitioner falls of in sudden drops – as in each fight we watch. All it would take is GSP to lose to Johny Hendricks and a subsequent loss in say, a super fight with Anderson Silva, and those who once hailed him will be burying his reign. All that could happen in less than a year.

It sounds like a man who has made up his mind that his career is ending and wishes to end it on the right note. Maybe we should appreciate what we have had while we have it. It could be the last time.

 

 


Snakebitten UFC on Fox 9

While the big heads at Zuffa likely don’t believe in curses, they have a pragmatic curse on their hands when it comes to UFC on Fox 9, set to air on December 14.

First came the injury to Ian McCall, dropping him out his fight with Scott Jorgensen (soon replaced by John Dodson). Then the big hit came when lightweight title holder Anthony Pettis bowed out of his headlining fight against Josh Thomson. The UFC did some nifty shuffling, weakening the TUF Finale card on November 30 by shifting it’s headliner – a title fight between Demetrious Johnson v. Joseph Benevidez – to replace Pettis v. Thomson.

Yesterday, the card got hit square in both jewels by the dual announcements by Kelvin Gastellum and Jamie Varner dropping out to injury.

Varner was set to fight Pat Healy on the undercard while Gastellum (the most recent TUF winner, defeating the over-hyped mental midget, Uriah Hall) was set to face Court McGee on the main card. They have been replaced by Bobby Green and Ryan LaFlare. Both of those fighters just competed on the most recent fight card by the promotion.

While the card remains strong from top to bottom – with notable bouts between Urijah Faber v. Michael McDonald, Carlos Condit v. Matt Brown, and Chad Mendes v. Nik Lentz  as well as the Dodson v. Jorgensen bout – it is never a good thing when injuries crop up.

 


Belfort can fight in the USA – if he jumps through some hoops

Because of his controversial TRT usage, the questions regarding Vitor Belfort’s eligibility to fight in the US have been raised. The issue is his history of drug abuse. After failing a test in 2006, Belfort did not comply with the NSAC’s nine-month suspension and fought in London the following April.

Can a fighter with failed tests and a history of defiance in his past find himself allowed to fight while on drugs in future?

MMAFighting spoke with Executive Director of the NSAC, Keith Kizer regarding the issue of Belfort’s eligibility for a Testosterone Use Exemption.

“Due to his past, Mr. Belfort would need to go before the Commission if he applies for a TRT TUE. This is not anything new. For example, I would not administratively grant Antonio Margarito a contestant’s license so he had to appear before the full Commission — likewise, Dave Herman.”

“The Commissioners could grant (with or without condition), deny, or take other action on any such application.”

There it is. Belfort would have to take the same steps as Josh Barnett to get his fight. Barnett’s history with drug abuse is more rampant, but he was able to play nice and answer all the NSAC’s questions to get himself a conditional application.

Will Belfort get licensed? It seems likely. However, depending on how his review goes, it very likely could be with conditions of pre-testing or more.


Matt Hughes believes loyalty pays off, disloyalty does not

Matt Hughes first fought in the UFC in 1999. Three years later he captured the welterweight belt and forged a Hall of Fame career. His years of service to the promotion has led him to a cushy second career as the Vice President of Athletic Development.

In the fight game, athletes are independent contractors. They are free to sign with any promotion they see fit once their contract is fulfilled. Hughes never signed elsewhere.

Other fighters of his era – fellow Hall of Famers, at that – Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture both spent parts of their career battling against the UFC.

Speaking with MMAInterviews Spencer Lazara, Hughes was asked if it saddens him that Ortiz and Couture were not part of the UFC anymore. Hughes doesn’t feel for them.

“The way I look at it, it was kind of their decision. Randy sued the UFC, he’s left the UFC, so he should know that there’s going to be a little bad blood there from what’s happened. Tito, the same way. I think he’s badmouthed the UFC a little bit. So I would say about the UFC, ‘if you’re good to them, they’re good to you.’ Those guys, there’s certain times in their careers, weren’t loyal to the UFC. So now they’re paying the price.”

Since his days in the octagon ended, Ortiz recently came out of retirement only to injure himself again. He works as a manager for other fighters, notably Cristiane Santos – considered by many to be the best female fighter on the planet (don’t tell Ronda Rousey I said that). Couture, meanwhile, has starred in a few actions flicks and otherwise contributes his time as a media personality.

While it isn’t for anyone to judge how someone makes their career or governs their life, it is easy to argue that Hughes has the more secure post-fight career of the three. Hughes sure thinks there is a reason for that.


Hats off to Bloody Elbow

Simple fact: we age. Simple fact: age erodes. Complicated fact: preventing aging is unethical.

I am not a fan of TRT. It’s obvious to you readers if you’ve read the FD blog posts.

And rather than write an essay on the subject, I’ll simply forward you to Bloody Elbow, where David Castillo unravels why TRT is inasmuch an institutional failure – not only an individuals’.

 


Noguiera never agreed to fight Gustafsson so Dana White just said, ‘F–k it.’

No wonder it all seemed so confused.

The recent snafu that saw  Antonio Nogueira booked to fight Alexander Gustafsson, only for that fight to disappear days later because Noguiera was injured was pretty baffling and disconnected. Turns out it’s because it was.

MMAJunkie.com reports from last evening’s Fight Night press conference Dana White’s explanation.

“What happened was that night we decided to make the fight. Gustafsson said yes, and they couldn’t get hold of him, so I said, ‘F–k it,’ and just went with it and announced the fight, and of course, he’s hurt.”

In other words, Dana White pulled an executive decision which blew up in the UFC’s face. Had it been a screw-up by anyone else in the organization would probably result in a dismissal. But of course, you can’t fire the boss. White undoubtedly feels like the situation isn’t entirely his fault, as MMAJunkie reports White admits he is partially to blame.

How is White only partially to blame? He booked a fight without the knowledge of one of the participants. Just because that particularly felt he was not physically able to compete – and Nogueira’s tendency to be hurt and stay hurt is concerning – it does not forgive that this entire situation would not have occurred if the UFC had waited a day to get in touch. It is convenient for the UFC and White to push the public attention on the fighter and not the failure in the process.


The UFC is going to sow the Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier rivalry for some real bread

We all know sex sells, but the other thing that sells is two big, pissed off athletes.

The UFC loves it some promotable controversy. Chael Sonnen made his career by providing the UFC with grudge match material against Anderson Silva.  Other notable rivalries are: Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, Uriah Faber and Dominick Cruz, Georges St. Pierre and BJ Penn, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Ortiz and most everybody. See a pattern here?

Big names, big drama, big fights.

While Jones already had a bitter rivalry with Rashad Evans, that always felt like a scorned ex-lover storyline. Too much personal baggage, too little pure animosity. The origins are important in any good rivalry.

The origin between Jones and Cormier is difficult not to admire.

Cormier says it all began at UFC 121 way back on October 23,  2010. As he tells it, the two had never met. The two found themselves in the same space backstage when Jones commented that Cormier looked like a wrestler. Such a comment could have been interpreted many ways, but to Cormier came off as a spoiled talent too big for his britches. Cormier, an Olympic medalist, replied by telling Jones, “I’m probably the best wrestler you’ve seen.”

Naturally (when dealing with competitors), Jones threw back a barb, “Well, maybe you get the cauliflower ear on the other side and maybe you can get a takedown against me.”

And there we have it. The rivalry began as the best do: competitiveness.

Things escalated when Cormier began insinuating his desire to drop to 205. Jones responded by essentially saying Cormier was beneath him by accusing Cormier of ‘wanting to be famous’ then commented on his physique, his reach, and his cardio as well as the crown jewel: his Twitter following.

A slew of other public run ins through the media and not – a heated standoff at the World MMA Award earlier this year – has turned this into a scintillating story waiting to explode in the octagon.

The UFC hopes both men can avoid the loss column (and Cormier can make weight) because this fight could be lucrative.