Georges St. Pierre Vacates Welterweight Crown But Won’t Close The Door On Return To Fighting

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UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre appeared on a special media conference call today to announce that he will be vacating the title for an undetermined amount of time:

“What I’m here for today, I talked with Dana and Lorenzo. I’ve been fighting for a long time. Had 22 fights in UFC, 15 of my fight is for world title. Been fighting at a high level for a very long time. A lot of pressure, a lot of criticism, I’ve decided I need to take time off. I know the UFC is a business. They have to keep things rolling. I hand back my title for the respect of the other competitor. One day when I feel like it, I might come back, but right now I need a break.”

Very interesting. St. Pierre should be commended for not holding up the UFC welterweight division. Many top contenders await a shot at the belt and St. Pierre knows that the sport is bigger than just one man.

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That’s something that many top athletes might not admit to. St. Pierre touched on his mental state being the cause for his absence from the sport:

“Physically, I’m one hundred percent. Mentally, I cannot go through another training camp right now and I don’t know when I’ll be able to. So I don’t want to make people wait for the respect of the UFC. I respect that, they made who I am in the sport. One day I’m gonna come back and I’m gonna be a challenger. If I have to do it for a fourth time, believe me, I’m gonna do it.”

So St. Pierre is far from closing the door on fighting completely, he’s just vacating the belt for the time being. Dana White did not sound all that pleased at the move, but he did say that he was behind the champ’s decision:

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“Yeah, I agree with Georges one hundred percent. He sat down, talked to us and said, ‘I have a lot of personal issues I’m dealing with right now and I can’t even imagine going through another training camp right now, it’ll drive me crazy, so I agree with him one hundred percent. This isn’t baseball or some sport, this is fighting man, you have to be a hundred percent mental, physical, emotional. If you’re not, you should sit out on the sidelines and wait until you get your stuff cleared up and I think it’s the right move.”

So the president says he agrees with GSP, noting that a fighter’s head needs to be completely in the game in order to continue fighting. And he’s right. Where will the welterweight division go without its greatest warrior?