Morning Report: Dan Hardy thinks Georges St-Pierre should have handed his belt to Johny Hendricks after UFC 167

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Sidelined UFC welterweight Dan Hardy wasn't overly impressed with recent events surrounding the quasi-retirement of now former champion Georges St-Pierre. Shortly after retaining his title in a controversial decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, St-Pierre announced an open-ended hiatus from the sport to relax and refocus.

"I think it left the whole division and the whole situation kind of awkward," says Hardy. "A lot of people weren't happy with the decision [over Johny Hendricks]. A lot of people don't feel GSP's in a situation right now where he can just step away from the sport because there are a lot of questions left unanswered.

"The only thing I'm uncomfortable with is the way it was finished, the way it came to an end. I watched the press conference and, for me, the best thing to do would have been for Georges to walk out, hand Johny Hendricks the belt and say, 'I'm done for a while, when I want the belt back I'll come and get it.' Just left it at that."

Hardy, who says he believes St-Pierre lost the fight with Hendricks, does admit that the challenger could have done more to win it.

"[Hendricks] said after the fight that he was only throwing with 70% of his power. I understand it, it was a smart, tactical thing to do, but once you pass the first two or three rounds, and he's still there, you've got to go get the belt. You've got to go take it.

"I think [St-Pierre] lost the fight. I think he retained his belt, but I think he lost the fight."

Given the assumed pressures of being the UFC's biggest poster boy, it's hard for Hardy to blame St-Pierre for needing the break.

"If he's taking time to step away from the sport, he needs it. There's a reason for it. We don't really want to see Georges St-Pierre compete at anything other than 100%. He's not the champion if he's not 100%. We need to see him at his best. If there's something outside the sport that's affecting him we're not going to see his best in the sport. If he says it's time to step away then he should.

"I just feel like it would have been the right thing to do for the sport, for his brand, to [say], 'There you go. I don't feel like I earned the belt tonight. I'll come back and get it when I do.' Then if he does come out of retirement and get the belt, imagine how people would view him. Best champion of all time."

Hendricks will now face Robbie Lawler on Mar. 15, 2014 at UFC 171 for the vacant welterweight title.

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It's Tuesday, so make sure to check out The MMA Hour with Kevin Iole , Chris Leben, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Cole Miller, Travis Browne, Urijah Faber, Glenn Robinson, the CEO of Authentic Sports Management AKA The Blackzilians, Rener Gracie and former WWE Diva Eve Torres.

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MEDIA STEW

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News Hits.

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More Manuwa. More Gustafsson.

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Long watches.

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TWEETS

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Thanks for everything, Chris Leben. I saw the Wandy fight live. Hard to believe he'd be the one to retire first.

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At least they're fighting on Twitter.

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Broken jaw problems.

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Good to hear.

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Sounds good.

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'Miami Vice' big?

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Interesting.

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Good turnout.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Jan. 20 2014)

Quinton Jackson vs. Christian M'Pumbu at Bellator 110

King Mo Lawal vs. Mikhail Zayats at Bellator 110

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Kwisatz Haderach.

GSP v UFC, PEDS and disentangling before they strangle.

So, it's been a bit of an ugly week for our MMA overlords. GSP is pissed, Dana is pissed and we fans are tripping over each other in our rush to condemn one side or the other. Situation normal! So what is really going on here? Who is at fault, and how can the UFC better get the monkey off their back? I find myself in a very conflicted place on the whole thing, and yet it still seems to me this can all easily go away...

I completely agree with the side arguing that Dana's scorn for GSP's perceived attempts to up the drug testing game looks bad, and is doing them no favors, and that how they've treated GSP publicly is even worse. Nothing is going to fully repair Dana's treatment of the champ in the UFC 167 aftermath, but I still believe that most of GSP's ire and recent criticism could be sent flowing beneath the bridge of memory if Dana and Lorenzo took a better tack on the issue. The thing is, it isn't that hard for them to make a decent case to Georges as to WHY using VADA or other testing isn't a great idea or at least not an easy one, and it was both stupid and infuriating to be so dismissive and mocking of this before the fight, and so disparaging in the wake of his comments. Probably Georges has always been such a team player, it was very easy to dismiss him and assume that was the end of it. But, dismissing someone as crazy, or less than a man, are two of the oldest weakest canards in the argument game, and aiming those sentiments at one of the smartest, most conservative and polite team players in this manliest (and womanliest) of sports, isn't going to convince anyone who needs convincing. Quite the opposite. And it's the kind of thing that just drives me into a rage and makes me begrudge the UFC my money. Sure, Dana is a short-tempered, pugnacious bastard at times, it's part of his charm too, but they've got to be smart enough to see that this beef could do them some damage, at least in the short term. Thing is, Dana had the salve in hand before 167, and instead of taking this all seriously and driving it home, he choose to let this fester.

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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