UFC president Dana White said, as recently as September, that he doesn’t believe former star Georges St-Pierre will ever fight again. However, GSP’s camp says he “wants to fight”, and blames the UFC for not giving him a fight.
Attorneys representing St-Pierre told ESPN this week that their client is a free agent… though the UFC is claiming otherwise.
The 35-year-old MMA legend has publicly stated he had terminated his contract with the UFC, after their failure to offer him a fight, essentially making him a highly coveted free agent. However, the UFC has responded, saying St-Pierre remains under an exclusive contract.
“Our position is the contract is terminated,” Jim Quinn, of New York firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, tells ESPN. “I suppose they could take legal steps against that or they could offer a new contract. They have a variety of options on their side.”
After a lengthy hiatus, GSP entered negotiations with the UFC in February for a comeback fight. But apparently, details in the contract he signed in 2011 presented hurdles.
ESPN points out that when GSP last fought, the UFC did not have an exclusive apparel provider. But in 2014, they signed a deal with Reebok, which now creates a conflict with St-Pierre’s independent apparel sponsors. Those complications were in the process of being resolved, and then, the UFC announced that it had sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion in July. This is when GSP enlisted attorneys at Weil, Gotshal and Manges.
His legal team says they set a 10-day deadline for the UFC to offer St-Pierre a fight, which they did on the final day, with a letter proposing a potential bout against former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. “The UFC waited until the 11th-and-a-half hour to come back with bare bones information, that floated one fighter and nothing else,” attorney Eric Hochstadt said.
However things play out, GSP says he wants to fight again, whether that’s inside the Octagon or with another promotion.
“Georges wants to fight,” Quinn said. “He’s not ruling out the UFC. He just believes, at this stage, they had long enough under the old contract. Now he’ll either fight for the UFC or somewhere else, but he’s going to fight.”