Morning Report: Tom Wright wants Georges St-Pierre back, but UFC ready to move forward

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tom Wright, Director of UFC Operations in Canada, says former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre may return as early as this year, but that the company is prepared to move on without him.

"I'm a huge Georges St-Pierre fan," says Wright. "I think all Canadians are. We're really looking forward to see him back. I think he will come back. He may even come back in 2014, who knows? But one of the reasons we're having this press conference and talking about the different things that we're doing is because we will continue to move on."

Setting the stage for today's press conference laying out the UFC's 2014 Canadian schedule, Wright believes a continued growth no longer solely depends on the Quebecker superstar.

"There's a lot of exciting things that we're doing to make sure the sport continues to grow, that our athletes continue to develop and while we'd love to see Georges back, and at some point we will, we'll move on."

Judging by some recent comments made by UFC president Dana White, it's safe to assume St-Pierre is still very much a part of the company's plans in the Great White North.

"Who has said more good things about Georges St-Pierre than me? I talk better about him than his parents do, probably," White told AXS TV Friday. "I have nothing but good things to say about Georges St-Pierre. This time we disagree. We're butting heads a little bit but it happens sometimes. This is a business where it's not always going to go smooth.

"He's always been a standup guy for the sport, the company, Canada, everything."

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Doubling down. Dana White touches on the UFC's plans for 2014, Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman and more.

Signal to noise. Luke Thomas lays out the best and worst of UFC on FOX 10. He also has an epic rant about a general lack of grappling knowledge plaguing MMA fandom.

Open for business. Tyron Woodley says GSP stepping away didn't 'open up' the division because it wasn't closed.

Unfortunate. Chris Leben reveals that much of the money earned throughout his career was spent on 'illegal drugs.'

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MEDIA STEW

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Dana White's UFC 169 vlog.

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UFC on FOX 10 phantom cam highlights.

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Next episode of The Reem.

THE REEM SEASON 3 EPISODE 5+6: EASTERN PROMISES from THE REEM on Vimeo.

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A bit of that heated argument from Dana's L.A. luncheon.

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Urijah Faber on his mentality facing Barao a second time.

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Tatsuya Kawajiri and Takeya Mizugaki hanging out.

HT to Ariel for pointing out to use the closed captioning button.

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Forrest Griffin talks Anderson Silva's leg break and laments his own injuries.

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Long watches.

UFC 169 Care/Don't Care Preview

'Countdown to UFC 169'

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TWEETS

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Chumps.

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Tough day.

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Hendricks' new Reebok ad.

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Just an FYI.

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DC looking slim.

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Congrats.

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Vaya con dios.

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The fake version speaks three languages.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Jan. 28 2014)

cancelled Bryan Caraway vs. Lucas Martins at UFC 170

Darrell Montague out, Will Campuzano vs. Justin Scoggins at UFC 171

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Da Headbanger.

Everything You NEED to Know About UFC 169

Dominick Cruz was set to make his long-awaited return from injury (it would have been 28 months!) at this show and succumbed to... you guessed it, another injury. As a result, he was stripped of his title and Renan Barao was made the official bantamweight champion (about damn time!) and Urijah Faber was called upon to take Cruz's spot in the title showdown. While I do feel badly for Cruz, this is the best thing for the viewers and him (not the injury). The fans get to see a fighter who has been red-hot go for the belt as opposed to one who last fought even before the Dallas Mavericks received their championship rings (oh yeah... they did win the title) and Cruz will be able to make his comeback against a more logical opponent. Who really believes he would have been ready for Barao?

Other prominent fights include Jose Aldo defending his featherweight title against Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event and Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem clash in a battle to determine which heavyweight has lost all relevancy. Oh yes... and John Linekar and Ali Bagautinov clash in what should have large implications in who receives the next flyweight title shot.

...

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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