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Georges St-Pierre says he’s no longer under contract with UFC: ‘I’m a free agent’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Georges St-Pierre is no longer under contract with the UFC, he told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

"You heard it right," St-Pierre said "I'm a free agent."

St-Pierre, one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, said his lawyer, James Quinn, terminated his UFC contract after the promotion did not meet a deadline to offer him a fight recently. GSP said he was under a 2011 contract with the UFC and was working on a new deal, but talks fell apart when the UFC was sold to WME-IMG in July. GSP said WME-IMG pulled the offer on the table from former CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and put negotiations on ice.

"It was like a shock, because we felt like we were making progress, we were almost there," St-Pierre said. "When they told us that, I got angry."

At that point, St-Pierre said he hired Quinn and Quinn gave the UFC a legal deadline to offer him a fight. GSP, the former longtime UFC welterweight champion, said right before his lawyer-imposed deadline the UFC asked him if he wanted to fight Robbie Lawler at a future date, but Lawler has said he is taking time off from MMA after a knockout loss in July. At that point, St-Pierre said, his lawyer told him his UFC contract was terminated and he was a free agent.

GSP said he is free now to sign with any other MMA promotion, though he isn't sure what will happen next. He said he wants to get out of the limelight after an "emotionally draining" few months negotiating with the UFC.

"The reason I wanted to go back and fight is because i feel right now that I'm at my best," St-Pierre said. "I'm truly confident I can beat the guys that are champions right now. I'm that confident. At least I'm a free man. Now, I know I'm free. I have other options. I'm not caught up legally with a contract. I'm a free man."

(Update: In a statement Monday night, the UFC denied that St-Pierre was no longer under contract: "Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his MMA promoter," the statement read. "Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St-Pierre do the same."

One of the things the UFC told him, GSP said, was that the promotion would have to "take a huge financial risk" to re-introduce him to the audience. St-Pierre said he felt very confident he could have sold out Air Canada Centre for UFC 206, which he was hoping to headline, in minutes.

"I don't take it personal," St-Pierre said. "I found it a little bit funny to tell you the truth. I know it's a lie. Sometimes I start to ask myself if they started to believe what they're saying.

"To [come back], it would have been a win-win situation. I think now what happened with this situation, the biggest loser is the fans. I'm a loser. The UFC is a loser. Even the UFC is a loser. They would have made good money."

A request for response from the UFC was not immediately returned Monday.

"I was very pumped up a few weeks ago when we talked," St-Pierre said. "Now, I'm not as pumped up as I was. I'm entering unknown water, unknown territory. I just don't know what's gonna happen."