Middleweight champion Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre’s much-talked about title fight has been sent to the scrap heap by the UFC.
In an interview last night, Dana White made the shock announcement, revealing that they had decided to pull the plug on the superfight due to the fact that it was taking far longer than they’d anticipated to actually get the two of them in the Octagon together.
“I made this ‘GSP’ fight – we did a press conference. The thing was supposed to happen in July,” White stated on FOX Sports Australia’s ‘UFC Fight Week’ show. “Michael Bisping is going to have to defend his title now. We’re not waiting for GSP. Georges St-Pierre was coming back. Bisping-St Pierre – they both wanted that fight. We asked Yoel to step aside. He did. It doesn’t look like that fight is gonna happen now.”
Instead, White went on to reveal that the plan now is for 185lb No.1 contender Yoel Romero to get the title opportunity against Bisping instead, with UFC 213 on July 8th the date they are tentatively penciling in for it.
“(Romero) doesn’t need to voice his opinion on why he needs a title shot. He definitely deserves a title shot. He’s next in line – he’s the No.1 ranked guy in the world.”
White made it clear that the finger of blame for the collapse of the originally announced fight lies with GSP.
His fight with Bisping was officially confirmed on March 1st, yet it was only in the past week that the Canadian superstar finally revealed that he wasn’t going to be ready to step into the Octagon until the tail-end of 2017.
“Georges St-Pierre is saying he will not be ready to compete now until November,” White said. “Who knows if that’s even the case? It could be next year. … So we’re not waiting for Georges St-Pierre anymore. We’re moving on with the division, and Yoel Romero will get the next shot.”
This decision has several benefits for the UFC. For one thing it solves the problem of needing another high-profile title fight to go alongside Cody Garbrandt Vs Dillashaw at the marquee UFC 213 event in Las Vegas during International Fight Week on July 8th.
It also gets the top end of the UFC’s middleweight division moving again after essentially being in limbo and quietens down the growing frustration from leading fighters in the weight class like Yoel Romero, Luke Rockhold and Anderson Silva.
It’ll be interesting to see how GSP will respond to the this clear slap in the face though. Perhaps offering him a fight that’s been talked about for years with the aforementioned Anderson Silva could now become a suitable alternative that would appeal to all parties.
As for Bisping, it will surely come as a blow that he won’t be getting the blockbuster ‘money fight’ that he’s been craving, and fighting Romero is a daunting prospect, but potentially headlining the stacked UFC 213 event in July could still prove to be a big payday for him.