Georges St-Pierre announced yesterday that he’s now a free agent after his lawyer terminated his contract, but the UFC have since issued their own statement denying that’s the case.
“Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his MMA promoter,” a statement from the promotion reads. “Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St-Pierre do the same.”
St-Pierre announced his intention to return to the sport after a three year absence back in February, but negotiations with the UFC regarding his comeback have continually fallen through, finally leading to his legal representative tearing up the 2011 contract he signed with the promotion.
Fans had assumed that when the 35 year-old superstar announced he wanted to fight again that the UFC would welcome him back with open arms, but on the outside looking in it had quickly become apparent that wasn’t the case.
In fact, over the course of the year UFC President Dana White has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t believe that the former long-time welterweight champion, who vacated his title in November of 2013 to take time out from the sport, wants to fight again.
“There’s a certain mentality you have to have to be a fighter, and Georges St-Pierre hasn’t had that mentality for a long time,” White said last week on the ‘Jay And Dan Show’. “And sometimes that’s not a bad thing. Listen, the guy went out on top. How many athletes really go out on top? Go out the way you want to go out? The guy made a lot of money and when you take – this isn’t a sport you take a three-year layoff from.”
It seeed to be a puzzling stance to take when one of the pound-for-pound best fighters the sport has ever seen is at the same time publicly stating that he’s eager to return, but it seems that the contractual terms surrounding GSP’s return was likely the real issue behind the scenes.
GSP indicated as much himself in an interview with MMAfighting.com back in September, indicating that the UFC’s deal with Reebok during his hiatus had, “changed a lot of the infrastructure,” of his own contract, though there believed to be other financial stumbling blocks too.
Nevertheless, St-Pierre had hoped that the two parties could come to an agreement in time for him to headline UFC 206 in his native Canada on December 10th, but last week Dana White stated on FOX Sports 1 that he would not feature on the card.
Just days later St-Pierre is now looking to make a clean break from the promotion, but judging by the UFC’s statement that’s going to be easier said than done, and if so that means the only fight we’ll see the former champion in the near future may take place in the court room.