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UFC says Georges St-Pierre is still under Zuffa contract

It doesn't seem like this will be a clean break.

Hours after Georges St-Pierre told Ariel Helwani on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour that he had terminated his contract with the UFC and is now a free agent, the UFC has responded denying that.

In a statement sent out Monday, the UFC said the former welterweight champion remains under contract and implied there could be a legal battle in the near future.

"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."

St-Pierre said on The MMA Hour that his lawyer terminated the contract with the UFC after a legal deadline for the promotion to offer him a fight passed. St-Pierre said he had an old contract with the UFC from 2011 and was negotiating a new deal with former CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, but talks broke down when the UFC was purchased by WME-IMG in July.

WME-IMG pulled the offer Fertitta had made to St-Pierre for a new contract, GSP said. At that point, St-Pierre said he hired lawyer James Quinn to evaluate the old deal. Quinn gave the UFC a deadline to offer St-Pierre a fight. GSP said the UFC sent him a message right before the deadline asking him if he was interested in facing Robbie Lawler.

But St-Pierre said it was his understanding that Lawler would be taking a break from MMA and Lawler recently pulled out of UFC 205 next month. Because of that, Quinn told St-Pierre that the contract was terminated and he was a free agent, GSP said.

"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."

The UFC seems to think otherwise, per the statement sent out Monday.

St-Pierre, 35, is one of the greatest champions in UFC history, holding the 170-pound belt for seven years. He stepped away from the sport in 2013, citing personal issues, but never said he was retired. GSP said he began discussions with Fertitta about a comeback in February. UFC president Dana White has repeatedly called into question St-Pierre's desire to fight again.

"GSP isn't even close," White told BT Sport earlier this month. "I'm telling you again, I don't think GSP wants to fight. I keep saying this. You guys know fighters as much as I know fighters, do you think GSP wants to fight? GSP wasn't crazy about fighting when he was fighting! Now three years later he's just dying to fight? He's not. I don't think he is."

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