Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has witnessed a lot of change since leaving the sport of MMA (mixed martial arts) behind in late 2013. ‘Rush’ indeed stepped away from the competitive side of the game, but has also remained an influential figure in the fight for stricter drug testing. The fact the UFC has started towing the line in testament to GSP’s clout, as both one of the most recognizable faces in the sport but also as one of the most respected champions in the promotion’s history.
There’s also been alterations that have created uproar, such as the UFC-Reebok deal, which even St-Pierre has no control or say in. Talking with MMA Interviews as per MMAFighting, ‘Rush’ discussed his come-up in the game, how sponsors can provide much needed income, and the negative aspects of the landmark deal:
“I’m wealthy now,” said St-Pierre. “A few years ago, I didn’t make as much money. It was easy for people to say, ‘Oh yeah? You’re talking bad about us? Out. You’re out. We don’t hire you.’ There are a lot of guys in the same situation. They think the same things as me, but they don’t have the power I have. I don’t need to fight anymore. If I don’t want to fight, I am wealthy, I am happy. I don’t need this anymore. I don’t have to. Maybe I would like to, but I don’t need to.”
“Some of the guys, when you’re a professional athlete, it’s not a jet set life,” said St-Pierre. “It’s a very hard life. These guys, they don’t make a lot of money. They need to keep their mouths shut. If you open [your mouth] and say what you think, you saw what happened in the Reebok thing. If you talk bad about certain things you’re kicked out.”
The gagging order that St-Pierre is referring to is the controversial sacking of long-serving and legendary cutman Jacob Duran. ‘Stitch’ had a little too much to say on the UFC-Reebok deal, and got canned and served the cold shoulder by the Zuffa owned MMA organization. The UFC seemingly ready to let heads roll, the question is who’s next? GSP continued:
“Some of these guys, they need the income. I understand that and I’m no different. But now I’m in a position where I can say what I think. I’m just not disrespectful. I don’t say names or anything, but this is a problem. I’m talking for a lot of people. Trust me.”
Once again St-Pierre is rocking the boat in the MMA/UFC media pool, much like fellow legend Wanderlei Silva but to a far lesser extent. Everyone has pretty much had their say on the infamous deal with the sports apparel giant, from St-Pierre to a disgruntled Jose Aldo and back to guys like Wanderlei, Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.
The deal seems to follow a trend of champions making bank, and most others making squat. We’ve discussed how the deal can negatively impact so many and, much like the battles fought in drug testing, fighter pay seems to be an ongoing theme.
Will Georges St-Pierre be able to remedy the situation? If not, who else is out there with enough power to make a change, or is one even needed?