When it was announced earlier this year that the next shot at Michael Bisping’s middleweight title would go to former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre – a man riding a multi-year layoff with no experience in the division – there was widespread backlash. While much of this backlash came from the fans, the most visible responses to the news came from Bisping and St-Pierre’s fellow fighters. And of all the fighters to sound off against this strange title fight, it’s possible that none were as vocal as former champ Luke Rockhold.
“Our division is hot right now, they’ve got good matchups, but they’re just not putting the champion to work,” Rockhold said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. “It’s ridiculous. Are they really going to wait until October to make the Georges St-Pierre fight?”
“The company is kind of losing it these days,” he continued. “I don’t know what happened to the old company where the best fought the best. That’s what built this company, now it’s just a spectator sport. They’re just putting freak shows together.”
“At least put an interim title on the line if [the champion’s] not gonna fight. He’s going to be inactive and not fight one contender in two years? What’s the point in being the champion?”
Though we’ve since learned that the next middleweight title shot will in fact go to the far more deserving Yoel Romero, these criticisms from Rockhold generated a response from UFC President Dana White, who spoke to Fox Sports at the UFC 211 post-fight press conference.
“There’s a lot of guys talking about ‘deserve’ — nobody deserves anything. You’ve got to earn it here. You’ve got [Luke] Rockhold screaming right now ‘I deserve this’. You just got knocked out in the first round. You’ve got to come back and earn it.”
These comments from White provoked yet another response from the frustrated Rockhold, who told white to think before he speaks.
@danawhite "You have to earn your way in this company"? Tell me how did GSP earn a middleweight title shot? Think before you run your mouth
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017
Shots fired. What do you make of this Luke Rockhold vs. Dana White beef?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2017.