Without a truly bankable star having fought in 2017, the MMA world was waiting with great anticipating for the return of longtime former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre when it was announced “Rush” would meet middleweight champion Michael Bisping at a later-to-be-determined date sometime this year.
That is, until the saga of St-Pierre, who appeared alongside “the Count” at a highly-publicized press conference the day before March’s UFC 209, took a strange turn after he released a video revealing he wouldn’t be able to fight until November. UFC President Dana White then revealed that Bisping would fight number one contender Yoel Romero instead, a fight that ultimately couldn’t be book on accord of “The Count” having a nagging knee injury he had surgery on earlier this year.
Romero was booked to face surging contender Robert Whittaker at UFC 213 in July, and St-Pierre then revealed the real reason why he needed a long-off date for his rumored match with Bisping. An eye injury that will keep him out of sparring until September is to blame, and during an interview on today’s The MMA Hour, he discussed why he didn’t want to reveal that to the public at the impromptu presser earlier this year:
“When the fight got announced with the press conference, we knew that we couldn’t fight in the summer. UFC knew as well that I couldn’t fight in the summer. They knew that I had an eye injury, but we still did the press conference, and I felt very uncomfortable during this whole time.
“Everybody has advisors, and I was advised to not talk about it, not talk about my eye injury. As an athlete, you don’t want to talk about these things. If you know about it now, it’s because this whole thing became out of proportion, it turned into a very negative thing. As athletes, we all have injuries and don’t want to talk about this, because it gives you weaknesses, something that your opponent can exploit.
“It’s an eye injury, and it’s a long healing process. I had surgery done and everything is OK. It’s just, there’s a lapse of time, minimum time, that I need to wait before I go back and train, especially if I take a risk to get hit on my eyes, because it can damage (my eye permanently), because my vision has not recovered 100 percent yet. It will be fine, everything is fine. It’s just, I need to wait for the lapse of time that the doctor asked me to wait for, and it’s in September that I can start sparring again.”
St-Pierre also said he hadn’t been informed that his fight with Bisping was officially off yet – signifying it could still happen – and he attributed White’s announcement to his emotional attitude before praising the successful promoter:
Just what I’ve heard in the news. But Dana, he’s a very emotional person. He’s a very emotional person, and I understand that. You need to be emotional in this game. The way he is, Dana is the best. Like I said, he’s the best promoter, pound-for-pound, of all-time, and he can sell you every fight. It’s crazy. He’s the best. He can sell you anything, like, he’s so good at it. And I’m sure if he still wants to make this fight, we can make it. It’s up to him.
“Things with Dana are hard. I have people that their job is public relations and they deal with the UFC people, and sometimes all the stuff that I hear from Dana is from the reporters. Stuff that I hear, all the time, are [from] the reporters. It explodes like a bomb that I didn’t know. So I guess it’s the same thing for him on this fight.”
So while the fight may be off for now, St-Pierre reaffirmed his desire to face Bisping at some point because he simply wants to hurt the brash veteran ‘real bad’:
“I want to fight Michael Bisping. For me, personally, that’s the man I want to fight. As much as I respect him as an athlete — even though he’s been very arrogant and cocky with me, I respect him as an athlete — but if I fight him, I’m going to hurt him real bad. That, I can promise you.”
Finally, St-Pierre revealed that when he does finally come back to the sport he dominated after four years off, he’s going to try to make more history. However, “Rush” closed by saying that if he loses at any point during his comeback, he will retire for good:
“I’m at one fight for retiring for good, this I can tell you for sure. If I come back and I lose, this is it for me. Yes, his is it for me. If I come back and I lose, it’s finished; this I can tell you for sure. Because it’s over, I don’t wanna hang there and become a punching bag for younger people. I do not believe I’m gonna lose, I think I’m at my best, my trainer believe I’m at my best.
“I put a lot on the line, and I know that if I come back, it’s because I believe I’m a much better person that what I was and I wanna go back to another shot and rewrite history, but if down the road, if I lose, I pass the torch, it’s over, it’s finished. It’s a lot of pressure, and that’s why I will be fighting at my best because I will be fighting like there’s no tomorrow.”