On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre explained that, if he beats Michael Bisping to capture UFC middleweight gold at UFC 217 this November, he’ll then have to defend the title – probably against interim champion Robert Whittaker.
“I have to defend my title. It’s written in my contract that I have to defend my title if I win, and also I think it’s [Robert] Whittaker that’s going to be the other guy that has the fight. When I beat Bisping, he’s going to be the guy that I’m going to fight next.
While this announcement from St-Pierre put to rest the widespread worry that he’d win the title, then return to the welterweight division and leave the throngs of middleweight contenders without a champion to chase, Michael Bisping isn’t buying it.
Speaking on his podcast, the veritable soundbite-generator Believe You Me, Bisping claimed that St-Pierre could still be able to wiggle his way out of a middleweight title defense, because he’s in a position of power over the UFC.
“Georges is still in the position of power, much as I don’t like to admit that,” he said (h/t Jed Meshew of MMAFighting.com). “Listen, I’m fighting GSP and I have a fan base and people like to watch me fight or people like to see me get knocked out. Win or lose, people do tune in. But GSP is a big name and he brings the huge Canadian market with him and that’s what the UFC are after. They want all those Canadians to start buying the pay-per-views again. From what I’m hearing, pay-per-view sales in Canada haven’t been doing too well lately so they want GSP to come back and they want all those people, all those lumberjacks to start buying the Pay-Per-Views again.”
“If, God forbid, he beats me, he has it in the contract that he has to fight Robert Whittaker. But he can retire. He can retire if he wants. They cannot force you to fight. So let’s say he was to say, ‘I retire’ and then say, ‘Hey, listen, I’ll come out of retirement to fight at 170 [pounds]. UFC, do you want to sell all those pay-per-views again, yes or no? It’s up to you.’ So really . . . one would assume that he can really do what he wants. They can’t force him to fight.”
“[St-Pierre]’s in the position of power, really. Of course Dana’s the promoter, the UFC are the promoters but we’re the fighters and GSP has that Canadian market that buys pay-per-views. Unfortunately for me, I’ve got a fantastic following in the U.K. – I have a great following and God bless you all – but the way it’s structured in the U.K., we get the UFC for free. There’s no pay-per-view so there’s limited – it’s a big attraction to the UFC to have the U.K. market but to have the Canadian market that has a history of buying pay-per-views, you pay for the UFC in Canada so that’s more beneficial to the UFC.”
Do you agree with Michael Bisping? Does Georges St-Pierre really have the upper hand over the UFC?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/15/2017.