Current UFC welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre, is not only the best 170-pound fighter in the world, but he is also one of the most popular in the sport. Usually, when you possess one of those bargaining chips it is easy to walk up to the negotiating table with confidence. However, when you have both, you potentially find yourself expecting more than what the company is willing to offer. It is almost time for GSP to renew his contract with the UFC, and it is going down to the wire.
“I’m with the UFC; I have two more fights on my contract and you know we’re in negotiations,” said St. Pierre during an appearance on MMAWeekly. “Everything is going well you know. We’re talking and everything is good.
“It’s just another fight that’s being fought outside the Octagon, but it’s very interesting,” St-Pierre told the Vancouver Sun.
The UFC knows that they need to keep “everything good” as there will be stiff competition for St-Pierre’s services if he were to hit the open market. If that were to happen, GSP would clearly be the most coveted free agent since Fedor Emelianenko was two years ago after the dismantling of PrideFC.
“Before it expires, they’ll want to negotiate because they won’t want me to be a free agent (and) let the Japanese get their hands on me,” St-Pierre stated.
Not only would a Japanese organization love to get their hands on a superstar like GSP, but there is a certain United States start-up organization that also has close ties to the 27 year-old.
St. Pierre still maintains a strong relationship with his main sponsor, Affliction, even though the UFC banned all of their fighters from wearing the popular clothing line at any UFC event. In fact, this is what had led many to believe that St-Pierre might leave the MMA powerhouse. It is rumored that the ban cost St-Pierre upwards of $70,000 in sponsorship money.
Not that St-Pierre is about to complain too much because his Octagon accomplishments have allowed him to see his purses triple every year since he started with the UFC back in 2004.
“For me, it will be more than that,” GSP said about what he has earned and accomplished in the past. “And these fights will be a determining factor not only for my career, but my lifestyle. I want to use it to clear all the debts, the house, take some weight off my shoulders. You never know what will happen in life. I might get hit by a car tomorrow (and not be able to fight anymore).”
As well as being a genuinely nice guy, St-Pierre is also loyal. He knows that he would not be where he is today if the UFC didn’t give him an opportunity four years ago. He would like to remain with the organization that has allowed his career to blossom, which also happens to still be the largest MMA organization in the world.
“We’ll end up to an agreement I’m sure,” St. Pierre said. “I like the UFC. I’m glad I’m champion. I want to represent the sport and also the UFC well. The UFC, that’s what made me known and if possible I want to retire there.”
A dominating win over top welterweight contender Jon Fitch at UFC 87 will certainly provide GSP with more bargaining power in his renegotiation attempts, especially since he’ll only have one fight left on his current contract.
An interesting point to note is that under Section 5.2, the Champion’s Clause, of the standard Zuffa contract, as long as a fighter has the title belt at the end of his contract, the UFC can automatically roll over his contract for another year or three fights (whichever comes first). Former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture is currently going through this process with the UFC.