Shortly after Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre proclaimed he was going to "take a little break" from mixed martial arts (MMA) in the controversial wake of his "despicable" decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, company president Dana White vehemently declared that walking away wouldn't be that simple.
In fact, according to the emotional promoter, St-Pierre owed it to UFC, the fans and Hendricks to rematch "Bigg Rigg" immediately.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, however, is singing a much different tune. Fertitta, who was in New York City earlier this afternoon for a press conference (watch full video replay here) to push for regulation in "Empire State," feels that "Rush" owes the company nothing other than a straight answer.
"I think that Dana was misunderstood. And I think hopefully he's trying to clarify that. "GSP" doesn't owe us anything. Obviously, if he chooses to retire, then so be it. He will retire and become a champion, someone that everyone will look up to as one of the great champions in the UFC. If he decides to fight again, then great. I think, where the confusion was, when Georges never communicated anything to us prior to the fight relative to that he may be making an announcement. I think Dana said that he had talked to him and he said, ‘No, everything is fine.' Then after the fight, the announcement that he made was very vague. And I think what Dana was trying to say was that, either you're retired or you're not, right? We just can't put the UFC belt on the shelf for an undefined period; basically put it in limbo forever. Because that's not fair to the contenders who have been working their whole life to get the opportunity to get the belt. It's not fair to the fans to have the title sit on the side for too long. And it's not fair to us as a company because therefore we wouldn't be able to plan. I think that's what the message was meant to be. And I think unfortunately the press took it in a different way, like Dana was saying, 'Georges owes us.' Georges doesn't owes us anything, I think what he does owe us is to clarify what you're doing. Just let us know so we can plan."
In addition, Fertitta also doesn't share the same hostility (more details here) that White does toward Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), labeling it the "gold standard" in the sport, which is run by "capable commissioners." Furthermore, Fertitta feels the decision (see scorecards here) handed down by the judges at UFC 167 wasn't that controversial, even though he scored the bout for Hendricks.
At the end of the day, all Fertitta wants to know is what exactly St-Pierre plans to do with his career moving forward, an answer that will likely come after the embattled French-Canadian finishes soaking in the sun.
In the meantime, Hendricks is getting ready to hit the gym again just in case the St-Pierre does indeed decide to grant him another shot at the 170-pound crown before sailing off into the sunset.