Most of the MMA world was shocked when reigning UFC welterweight king Georges St-Pierre said he was going to temporarily leave MMA to deal with personal matters following Saturday’s highly controversial split decision victory over Johny Hendricks. UFC president Dana White (pictured) was simply pissed.
“I’m not upset about him … listen, when a guy wants to retire … I mean, did he say he wants to retire? He didn’t say, ‘I’m gonna retire. I’m hanging ‘em up. It’s been great, everybody. Thanks for all the years. See ya later.’ He said I’m gonna take some time off,” an agitated White stated at the UFC 167 post-fight press conference. “I told you guys a million times, he’s got plenty of money. He can retire. That’s a fact.
“There’s no, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go on a cruise and I’m gonna be gone for two years. I’m gonna take a hiatus. I’m gonna take a leave of absence. Whatever the hell it was that he was saying. That’s not the way it works. It doesn’t work that way.”
GSP’s been the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view draw for the past several years, so it’s clear why his abrupt and secretive exit during the height of his career is upsetting to White. However, White claims he’s primarily mad because the wrong guy is taking home the welterweight belt.
“First of all, that decision that happens, you don’t just say I’m gonna take a while off and maybe I’ll be back, maybe I won’t,” White continued. “You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again. Unless you’re gonna retire.”
White has said numerous times in the past that he would never try to convince a fighter who wants to retire to reconsider their decision. However, since St-Pierre never used the R-word, he will do his best to get “Rush” back inside the Octagon.
“You bet your ass I will, my friend,” White responded when asked if he’ll persuade GSP to come back.
White claimed St-Pierre was rushed to the hospital immediately after the shootout, so he never got the chance to talk to him about his vague post-fight speech. However, that ambulance must have busted a quick u-turn because minutes later GSP appeared at the podium.
White’s hostility, and volume, noticeably changed when St-Pierre was in attendance.
St-Pierre, who is just 32 years of age, remained mum on why he is determined to leave the sport that has reportedly made him millions. He did, however, mention that his issues aren’t allowing him to sleep at night.
Hendricks nearly put him to sleep on the job on Saturday.