Following his controversial (check out the Fight Metric report with complete stats here) split decision victory over Johny Hendricks in the main event of last night's (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) UFC 167: "St. Pierre vs. Hendricks" pay-per-view (PPV) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada (watch highlights of the bout here), Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre revealed he needed to step away from the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).
Maybe for good.
When pressed by color commentator Joe Rogan inside the Octagon, "Rush" refused to reveal exactly what prompted such a drastic decision. After all, this is the sport's biggest drawing card and quite possibly its most famous star. His hinting at retirement is a big deal and the fact that he wouldn't offer any particular reason for as much was both mildly alarming and curiosity arousing.
As it turns out, he's having some personal issues.
During the post-fight press conference, St. Pierre was poked and prodded just enough to offer a little insight into his decision. His words:
"I get very emotional after the fight. You know, I have so much stress, so much stuff going on in my life right now and I don't know what to say. It is what it is, you know. ... I have stuff going on in my life. I need to make a point in my life, okay? This is my personal life, I cannot speak to you about this. ... I understand the point of view for the UFC and everything. It's bad for them if I leave like this. Like I said, I need to make a point man. I can't sleep at night now, I'm going crazy. I have issues, man. I need to relax. I need to get out for a while. I don't know what I'm going to do."
Based on that quote and that quote alone, it's impossible to know exactly what's wrong with the longtime welterweight king. Perhaps the pressures of being just that have finally taken their toll, not to mention a long career in combat sports.
Before he ever got the chance to make those comments, his boss, UFC President Dana White, had some harsh words on St. Pierre's decision, even before he knew what was going on:
"To get up there and especially after you were in a fight like that to say that 'I'm going to take some time off and you know,' I don't even know what it meant. What it said doesn't make sense to me. But you don't do it. Let's say he had health problems or something like that. He wouldn't be fighting if he had health problems. You're the world champion, you've held the belt for seven years, you've been in this company forever. First of all, you don't go up there after a fight like that and just say 'hey, I'm going to go take some time off and do whatever'. If that's the case, retire."
So, essentially, White didn't feel the need to wait to hear what St. Pierre had to say on what his problems are because if they were bad enough, he wouldn't have been allowed to step inside the cage last night.
That's a dangerous assumption.
What made it worse is St. Pierre's eventual revelation. After his comments, White immediately got protective of his employee, refuting multiple questions from reporters who continually attempted to probe St. Pierre on his condition.
Perhaps he had a quick change of heart after hearing "GSP" talk about his issues.
There's nothing to do now but wait and see what else comes out on this story. For his part, White would later say he still believes he'll be able to put together an immediate rematch.