Directly after UFC 167 Dana White made his feelings known about who he thought was the winner of the evening’s Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks welterweight title bout. White believed Hendricks had done enough to take the belt from the longtime champ, but St. Pierre won a highly controversial split decision to retain the gold.
Promptly stating that St. Pierre would give Hendricks a rematch because he “owed it to him,” White was quick to jump on GSP’s back and tell him he simply could not walk away from MMA as champion. So St. Pierre vacated the belt in order to take some time off to deal with his personal life.
But it appears that another strange wrinkle has been added to the saturated media blitz surrounding St. Pierre’s departure from the UFC. Apparently a UFC employee snuck into St. Pierre’s locker room after the fight and stole his UFC welterweight title belt from him. St. Pierre detailed the odd scenario to Infoman (translated by MMA Mania):
"I'm taking my shower after the fight. I'm in my suit and tie, after that, they passed by, took the belt and they left with it, without even telling me. I have the belts I won before, but I don't have the one from my last fight."
Interesting. Or just strange, similar to every twist and turn in this drawn-out saga. After initially promising that he’d have a St. Pierre vs. Hendricks rematch booked within two weeks, White has supposedly said that he now believes St. Pierre was the victor while apologizing to the champ for his brashness. That was, of course, after UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta came out and said White was misunderstood but GSP owed them nothing.
The UFC 170-pound division will move on without St. Pierre, as Hendricks will face Robbie Lawler for the vacant title belt at UFC 171 on March 15.
It’s unclear when St. Pierre will return to fighting, if ever, but White seems to think he'll be back. For some reason the UFC must have wanted to hedge their bets by holding onto the last title belt he owned as champion.
What that reason may be is still up in the air, and it looks like this story simply won’t die. I think it’s time to leave GSP alone to live his life the way he wants to; after all, he gave the last ten years of his life to mixed martial arts. And he should have been able to keep his belt. What do you think?
Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie for USA TODAY Sports