Later this year, at a to-be-determined date, UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping will attempt to defend his title against former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre, who is returning from a long hiatus from competition. While this fight has got some members of the MMA community very excited, it’s generated criticism from others for the way it deprives the top middleweight contenders of the title shots they deserve.
During a recent appearance on UFC Tonight, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold offered his own criticism of this booking, suggesting that it could set a dangerous precedent, as legitimate ranking-driven matchmaking gives way to a focus on so-called “money fights”.
“It’s chaos, isn’t it? I think they’re running down a slippery slope,” Rockhold said (via MMAJunkie.com). “Things could easily get out of hand, you never know what these guys are going to do. Georges isn’t going to fight anybody in the top of our division if he wins this fight. Bisping could potentially be in the same boat.”
“I’m bummed [the UFC] took this route,” he continued. “It’s kind of taken away from the heart of the sport. It’s about the top guys fighting each other. This isn’t WWE. This is fighting. It’s what it’s all about. So when they make moves like this, it definitely makes you question a lot of things of what you’re doing and how you approach things.”
Rockhold has not been seen in action since he surrendered the middleweight title to Michael Bisping, succumbing to a shocking, first-round knockout in June of 2016. He was briefly scheduled for a November return to the cage against fellow contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, but he was unfortunately forced out of this booking with an injury.
Since then, Rockhold has called for a grudge-infused fight with former heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum, though there’s no indication that this fight is being considered.
What do you think of these comments from Luke Rockhold? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/26/2017.