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Tuesday, 12/17/2013, 07:17 am

Firas Zahabi: GSP Had Mixed Feelings About Future Before Carlos Condit Fight

Although only making a definitive decision this past week, it seems Georges St. Pierre had thoughts of retirement dating back more than a year ago.

Firas Zahabi, St. Pierre’s coach out of Tristar gym, went on Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” to discuss St. Pierre’s mindset this last year.

“I think before the [Johny] Hendricks fight, he had mixed feelings,” Zahabi said “Before the [Carlos] Condit fight, he had mixed feelings. He went back-and-forth. But the problem is, I was always cutting him off because I didn’t want to talk to him about it in camp. He had three fights in 18 months so we didn’t have time to have a deep discussion on it.”

Many rumors were rumbling before the St. Pierre vs. Hendricks match even started. Many thought St. Pierre was planning retirement, and because of this, Zahabi had to answer questions about St. Pierre’s future.

“I get asked the same question often and I have a staple answer,” he said. “My staple answer is if a guy isn’t motivated, I don’t want him to do the camp. If he tells me, `Yes, I’m hungry,” then I’m more than happy to do the camp. As a trainer, you know motivation is the first step. If the guy doesn’t have the motivation, going through a camp is the worst thing you can go through.”

Because of this, Zahabi believes it is a good time for St. Pierre to take some time off.

“Does he have the motivation to fight? Right now he doesn’t. Right now he has the motivation to take care of his personal issues. If he doesn’t, he’s going to end up depressed, alone,” Zahabi said. “The guy has to balance his life. His life is to the extreme and you can’t be a soldier forever.”

“The guy has been fighting for too long, missing too many birthdays, too many weddings, too many life experiences,” Zahabi said. “He wants to balance his life out. If you were to spend a day with Georges, you’ll be exhausted. There is so much going on it’s ridiculous. It’s crazy.”

Zahabi didn’t want to divulge the details of St. Pierre’s personal issues, but did say “He’s been putting his life on hold. His social life is deteriorating. His family life is deteriorating in terms of his spending time with his loved ones.”

“He’s lived a military life, lots of preparation and the preparation is extreme. There is no time off for enjoyment or personal time,” Zahabi added. “Then you look back and ask, `What’s happiness in life?’ Is it winning fight after fight, or is there more to it? If winning fights made you happy, Georges would be the happiest guy on Earth. Things aren’t that simple.”

Like many other people in the sport, Zahabi would like to see a day when St. Pierre returns to the sport, but he wants it to be on St. Pierre’s terms.

“Well, maybe it’s just what I’m hoping,” he said. “I love Georges. I’d love for him to come back. If he finds something he’s really passionate about, if he finds something else, plays another sport, or whatever, he may get addicted to whatever and I could see him jumping into something. But he’s not going to be happy watching TV. He needs a lot of action. But he also needs some down time.”

As for how St. Pierre is doing right now, Zahabi has this to say “Georges is right now the happiest I’ve ever seen him. His mood is better, he’s sleeping better, he’s gaining weight, muscular weight, not fat.”

“The stress was making him weaker, miserable, he was suffering. He didn’t have peace. He had too much stress in his life. Now we’re doing jiu jitsu and wrestling for fun,” Zahabi said.

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