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An open letter to Georges St-Pierre of Montreal, Quebec, Oct. 2014

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dear Georges,

Dude, how long has it been? Saw Firas post a picture of you on his Twitter yesterday, and it got me to thinking of the old days. You looked great, man. Real great. Liked seeing that smile on your face again. Kind of took me back to the time you were fighting Thiago Alves at UFC 100, and you guys did that pool shoot for the UFC Magazine? With all the women and inflated dolphins and stuff? That was a kick. You laughed a lot back then. We all did. Remember they thought that Thiago was a legit threat to beat you? LOL! You didn’t even need both groins for that one! Seriously, you are the freaking man, bro!

No idea how you weren’t the Gal’s Guide to MMA "Panty Dropper of the Week" every single week! No idea.

Anyway, that’s not why I was writing. I am writing because…well, I guess I was kind of wondering what you were planning on doing? Are you thinking of fighting again? I know when some friends and I heard you could resume training we automatically began thinking of huge fights, huge like Mothra vs. Godzilla huge, huge like bygone boom day huge, if you know what I mean. It was all music to my ears. I know many of us would want to see you fight again.

Oh, what am I saying, Georges. The truth is, we could really use you right about now. We need you.

Not sure how much you’ve been paying attention to the current state of things, but it’s turned a bit into a dystopian adventure in MMA of late. Google "War Machine" or "Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller" or "Thiago Silva" or "Josh Grispi" to get an idea of what I’m talking about. All of them cats are in some trouble. And the drugs, the reason you walked away? They’ve gotten little rampant, my friend, and we’re not just talking about those pesky Michoacán metabolites that plagued Nick Diaz (remember him?). Seems somebody’s always blowing hot for something or other, especially now that they are sifting through fighter blood. The MMA world has learned about EPO and HGH with a quickness since you’ve been gone.

What can I say? You were right, bro. You were right.

But it’s worse than just the standoffs and jailings and the performance enhancing drugs, though. It’s the feeling that the whole niche society is sagging under its timbers, if you don’t mind me getting philosophical for a minute. People are now pondering if the UFC will exist in 50 years, and talking about MMA’s gray plateau like we’re now walking across it. People use the word "oversaturated" a lot. People have gotten increasingly snarky in general.

Dude, when you were fighting Dana was promising to jump off the freaking Mandalay Bay if they hit 1.5 million pay-per-views, remember that? They hit 1.6, and he was all training in BASE-jumping and giving people vertigo at the thought of it? I’m telling you, you are the man! Dana was contemplating some crazy ass sh--, that’s how lunatic it was in your day!

But Georges, what I’m saying is it's gotten a little out of hand.

When you were fighting the UFC was in Canada all the time, and said it would go there every weekend if possible. The Canadians were on top of the freaking world. You sold out the Rogers Centre with 55,000 people fighting Jake Shields (!!), who’s no longer in the UFC, BTW. In 2014, the UFC didn’t make it to Montreal or Toronto, the hot beds you made so hot. What’s going on, right? I don’t know man.

There are loosely flung objects that we’ve been ducking under on a weekly basis since you left. Not sure if you heard of Conor McGregor, but he’s this Irish fighter -- a kind of robust dandy with great waxed whiskers -- who has been drumming up interest. He headlined a fight card in Ireland -- on the new Fight Pass, which is a digital streaming service that’s actually not bad, Georges, you should check it out -- and the groundswell was fairly massive. How massive? Let’s just say the River Liffey now flows into mainland U.S.A. He’s being poured down our throats like the old black tonic. That’s Guinness, Georges, haha! It was to the point that Dana said he was a "bigger" force than either you or Brock Lesnar.

You or Brock Lesnar! LOL!

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing. The sword on Brock’s thorax is bigger than the whole country of Ireland. But I guess my point is, it’s hard to dispute Dana on that right about now because right about now we are all very, very confused. And hopeful that he is the next big thing. Because we need big things, Georges. Aside from Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fighting, and Ronda Rousey maybe, Conor does seem like the force, even though he’s never sold 850,000 PPVs fighting Dan freaking Hardy! Haha.

You see what I mean, though? It’s all gone a little nuts since you quietly went away and Brock disappeared into Manitoba. I know it’s a cruel game. Maybe that’s all wrong…I remember you saying that it’s sport, but it’s not a game at all. And that’s what we miss, to be honest. That bedrock sense of the MMA. The gi. The headband. The aerodynamic look. You were the ambassador of the sport and a consummate pro for all those years, if you don’t mind my gushing, and that is really needed right now. I know Nick made you peer into your dark place towards the end there -- a place where the eyes have trouble adjusting, no doubt -- but even that's part of the complex whole. Isn’t the tattoo over your heart a Japanese symbol of that very duality, of light and dark, the good and the violent? That kind of balance is the crux of MMA. (Sick tattoo, BTW, always loved that).

Ah, but look at me get carried away.

Here’s the thing, Georges. The UFC is going through a hard time with PPVs and injuries and its process of globalization and all that, and the idea of having you back isn’t just nostalgia -- it’s something bigger. I know you got hit with a record number of significant strikes (85) against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, and many thought you lost (including Bossman), and your face looked like a wobbling bowl of aspic…but even in that most undignified moment, when you were mentally tired and physically blotto, you stood tall. You always did. You’re the man, bro.

(And real quick, speaking of Hendricks, he’s not the popular champion that Mista GSfreakingP was, if you know what I mean…if that makes any sense. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but he ain’t moving the needle like the man with the hyphen. That’s you dude!).

No, we need you, Georges. We need your professionalism to keep the thing upward and mobile, to cancel out some negative headlines. We need to debate your style of grinding out otherwise-dynamic fighters again, because right now we’re only debating whether it’s the Nevada Athletic Commission or the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and it's making us contentious.

That’s how bad it is.

Anyway, you look great, bro. Hope the training comes easy and you consider fighting again! No knock on your boy Rory, who is Mr. New Canada, I know, but would love to have you back. Truly.

Until then, keep that first name plural,
Yours very needily, and affectionately,

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