Georges St-Pierre Still Not Ready to Call Vacating his UFC Title a Permanent Step into Retirement

February 19, 2014
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Georges St-PierreFormer UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre relinquished his belt in early December, citing undisclosed personal issues leading to his sabbatical.

He left it to speculation as to why he was stepping away, other than saying he needed a break from the pressures that accompanied his career choice.

A short time later, however, St-Pierre started doing some public appearances and said that the current state of drug use in mixed martial arts was a key factor, though he didn’t declare it the only one or even the centerpiece of his decision.

Being the champion and being so successful, St-Pierre had constantly had a faction of naysayers that accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs to secure his success.

That is something that St-Pierre said he took as a compliment in the beginning, but now admits that it became an aggravating factor in his decision to step aside, particularly when his moves to help clean up the sport didn’t pan out.

“In the beginning it was not making me mad,” St-Pierre said during at recent interview on TSN’s Off the Record (watch part one here). “I was taking it as a compliment for my athletic ability. But it was always there like an insect and at one point it became annoying.”

When it got to that point, St-Pierre tried to go the independent route and get more drug testing involved in his fights, primarily to “prove a point” that such success could be achieved as a “clean” athlete. But his attempts only served to introduce more controversy and criticism into his life.

At one point, St-Pierre felt he his efforts weren’t supported by his employers.

“I tried to change things, and unfortunately, maybe for money reasons, maybe for image, they were not ready to do that,” said St-Pierre.

His comments left UFC president Dana White perplexed.

“[It] obviously shocked when he came out and said this,” said White in an interview on Fox Sports Live. “He should have said it to my face. I’m not very sensitive. You’re not gonna hurt my feelings.”

St-Pierre, though, said that the issue over drug testing wasn’t an attack on the UFC or even any particular individual. It has more to do with wanting to make a change for the legitimacy of his chosen sport.

“What I want to attack, I want to attack the system, not the individual,” he said. “I don’t want to attack the UFC. I fight for the legitimacy of my sport.”

At the end of the day, however, St-Pierre still insists that drug testing was but a contributing factor to his decision to vacate the UFC welterweight championship with which he had become synonymous.

He really did it to maintain some semblance of sanity in his life.

“I don’t want to have to need a psychologist or help to keep me on the right track,” he said during his Off the Record interview (watch part two here). “The stress [of being champion] was eating me alive.

“When you are a champion, you’re always a target. There is always another guy [gunning for you].”

In his appearances since relinquishing the title, St-Pierre has appeared as relaxed as we’ve seen him in years. Even when talking about controversial topics like drug testing, he doesn’t look as though he’s walking a tight rope across a canyon.

It’s obviously been good for St-Pierre to take a step back and put some perspective on his life.

He’s not, however, ready to say the move is a permanent one.

“It’s not a retirement,” said St-Pierre. “I would call it more of a break because I don’t know if I will retire or not right now. But I just knew I needed a break from competition.”

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  • Sir_Roy

    He just “new” he needed a break. Note to editor: just because GSP is French Canadian and speaks with a French accent, does not mean we cannot use proper English grammar when citing him! Lol.

    In other news, I do indeed hope GSP fights again. But only if he’s really ready and really committed. I’d hate to see him come back and leave a smear across his legacy by a series of losses. Once you “leave the zone” in any sport at the championship level, it’s not always obvious to get back into it. Too much more than a year away from the sport, and he may want to retire officially. Either way, this is one fight fan that wishes him the best.

    • Kris-tyahn

      Nicely said Sir Roy: I’m a HUGE GSP fan, but I’m not sure if he should come back or not, like you said, when an athlete leaves for a significant amount of time and they decide to come back, they’re either lacking the “hunger” or they’re not as “obsessed” with winning, therefore the fight/winning mentality isn’t the same as it once was. Even if he has the same hunger and desire to compete, ring rust exists, and being out too long, could be another obstacle. Anything longer than a year, he should call it a career, though my understanding is he still trains a lot and eats fairly healthy for a guy on “vacation.”

      I also heard GSP has gained 5lbs of lean muscle, I hope he’s not thinking if fighting at MW or Anderson, bc that’s guaranteed loss. Same goes for Silva if he were to fight Jones at LHW. Weight classes exist for a reason, ask BJ!

      • Sir_Roy

        Color me weird, but given the fighting styles, I’m not in total agreement that GSP vs Silva is a guaranteed loss at all. Never was. That said, I was always all for him doing it right.

        I agree, weight classes exist for a reason. But GSP knows what he’s doing. If he feels he can pack on the muscle mass in a meaningful way, then I personally think his style is extremely dangerous for Silva. Both of them getting back into the Octagon in a year by fighting one another would be epic.

        • workingjoe

          maybe his plan is to go to MW.
          try win the belt and then help rory
          get the WW. belt . its unlikely but
          possible ,


    GSP was stressed out,,, couldn’t sleep… leave him alone,,, let him rest & rejuvenate himself…. we all need time off

  • Obi-Wan Granoli

    hope he comes back! and i agree…too much bs going on. fighters need a union.

  • drkdisciple

    Nothing left to prove for GSP, hope he stays retired!