Former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return to the Octagon later this year after walking away from the sport when he was on top of the game in November 2013.
Following his ninth consecutive welterweight title defense, a decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, St-Pierre announced that he was taking a leave from competition. It was unclear how long that leave would be, or if the Canadian had retired.
The 35-year-old’s return to action was announced by UFC president Dana White on March 1. “Rush” will take on middleweight champion Michael Bisping at an undetermined location and date later this year.
In St-Pierre’s time away from the sport, several things have changed. Aside from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency instituting a UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the weigh-in procedure has changed drastically.
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Instead of the official weigh-in taking place at a fixed time the afternoon before an event, fighters now weigh-in during the morning before an event to allow them extra time to re-hydrate before their bouts. Fighter safety was the motivating factor for the change in weigh-in procedures, but St-Pierre believes the effect has been the opposite.
“I’m not a big fan of cutting weight. I always prioritize my health over my performance,” he said during a recent appearance of the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
“I believe the new weigh-in in the morning (the day) before the fight, I think it’s a bad thing. Because now guys, they see it as an opportunity to cut more weight. So, I think it’s a bad thing. I told Dana when I saw him that I don’t see it as a good thing.”
St-Pierre not only thinks the new weigh-in procedure is a bad idea, he believes it could end up costing a UFC fighter’s life.
“I think they have to change it because one day someone will die. One day someone will die and it will affect all of us. It’s very bad for your health,” he said. “There is a certain percentage of hydration in your body that is critical, that you can actually die if you’re past that point. It is very dangerous.”
St-Pierre’s concerns aren’t unfounded. In December 2015, 21-year-old Chinese flyweight Yang Jian Bing died from cardiopulmonary failure while cutting weight for his ONE Championship bout.