There aren’t too many fighters on the UFC roster who would agree with the promotion hosting fights between celebrities, let alone someone as accomplished as Georges St-Pierre.
The former UFC champion is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time, but is open to the idea of UFC catering to the entertainment sector through sideshow fights. UFC is all too familiar with this after banking pay-per-view (PPV) bucks on the shoulders of former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar for years, as well as this botched experiment.
“Now, you can be the elite, but it’s like a reality show, too,” St-Pierre said during a recent press conference in Australia (courtesy of Submission Radio). “The world has changed, and I think we need to evolve with it.
“(UFC) became more mainstream, and to attract more mainstream people, you need to have more mainstream athletes. I think it’s a good thing. But let’s not confuse who’s who.”
St-Pierre understands the shift in MMA today and how it attracts a broader audience. In the same breath, the Canadian superstar stresses the importance of maintaining the fights that actually matter.
“I’m all for it,” he said. “I’m really all for it. Or this hockey player goon against the MMA guy. I wouldn’t mind.”
Some might not agree with St-Pierre, especially this guy, but it makes sense from a financial standpoint if you’re UFC. The past few PPV events haven’t done all too great so they could use some help moving.
“We’re entertainers, and because we’re entertainers, the decisions are made for money, especially, I believe, since the UFC has been sold,” he said. “They have a big debt to pay, and they have to take care of business. I know it’s frustrating sometimes, but I think it needs to be a mix of both.”
If it’s money UFC is looking for then St-Pierre himself can help out. The MMA legend is coming off a return to action against Michael Bisping at UFC 217 last year in which he produced nearly 900,000 PPV buys. Not too shabby for St-Pierre considering he hadn’t fought since 2013.
Even though it’s highly unlikely that UFC would open up its doors to a celebrity with zero background in combat sports, we can never say never in this crazy ride called MMA. Once PPV superstars like GSP, Lesnar, and Conor McGregor dry up, maybe the promotion will be left will no other choice.
After all, they have a “big dept to pay.”