by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre may not only be the most popular athlete in the sport today, he may be the person to help bridge the gap between mixed martial arts and the sports’ regulation in his home country of Canada.
The enigmatic and popular fighter made a trip to Ottawa this week where he spoke to members of the Canadian Parliament, and was received well by all those in attendance. St-Pierre has twice been voted Canadian Athlete of the Year over the likes of hockey star Sidney Crosby, and he’s becoming an important spokesperson for MMA everywhere.
UFC president Dana White recognizes the popularity surrounding St-Pierre, and also how he carries himself as a major influence on why he’s able to do the things he does.
“He was doing PR and he was out there talking to government officials for us,” White said about St-Pierre’s visit to Parliament. “Georges St-Pierre has become a very important figure in sports, not only here in Canada, but around the world.”
Featured in ads for Gatorade and now one of the faces of Under Armour as well, St-Pierre is a crossover star for taking MMA into the mainstream advertising world. White believes that he’s an ambassador for the sport, and someone all Canadians can be proud of.
“I say this every time I’m up here and every time I talk about Georges St-Pierre, I don’t know how the (expletive) this guy isn’t sponsored by every Canadian company in Canada. He’s a great champion, he’s one of the classiest guys you’ll ever meet, such a great representative for his country, our belt, and the sport,” said White.
St-Pierre will be in attendance at UFC 113 at the Bell Centre, where he re-captured the UFC welterweight title two years ago. He has not relinquished the belt since that time.