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Georges St-Pierre: Dana White is a great promoter, but ‘doesn’t know what it is to be a fighter’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Georges St-Pierre doesn't think Dana White is qualified to say GSP no longer has the hunger to fight.

The mixed martial arts great told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that he's "disappointed" with recent comments White has made about his fighting future. White has said on multiple occasions that he doubts the veracity of St-Pierre's comeback wishes and that he does not believe the desire is there from the former UFC welterweight champion.

"When he's saying that I'm not ready to fight, there's only one person who knows if I'm ready to fight and it's myself," GSP said. "Dana White doesn't know what it is to be a fighter. I know what it is to be a fighter. I'm a fighter and I will always stand and support fighters. I know what it is."

St-Pierre said Monday that his lawyer has terminated his contract with the UFC and he is now a free agent. He is not sure if that means he will take offers from other MMA promotions, but GSP said he now has the option after negotiations for a new deal broke down when WME-IMG purchased the promotion for more than $4 billion in July.

The UFC said in a statement Monday night that St-Pierre is still 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."

GSP said White's voice carries so well and his words have perceived merit because of just how good of a promoter he is. The Canadian legend gives White a ton of credit for what he has done for MMA and beyond.

"Dana White, he's the best promoter in the world, Ariel," GSP said. "He is the greatest of all time. We wouldn't make mixed martial arts for a living if it would not be for Dana White. We owe him that. He did that for all of us. He took the UFC when it was small, he took it and he raised the bar for every one of us. But now in this situation unfortunately he's against me because of the business interests. I don't dislike Dana White. A big part of what I do and what I have earned is because of Dana White.

"Dana White is so good he can organize a fight between Hulk and Mother Theresa and make believe it's gonna be an even fight and make people believe that they need to see that fight. He's so good at promoting. He's the best in the world. And when he says something, everybody believes it. That's how good he is."

St-Pierre, 35, considers himself lucky to be where he is — "healthy and wealthy," he said. But he understands other fighters don't have that. He's been in that spot as well. GSP said when he first started in the UFC, he made $3,000 to show and another $3,000 to win and needed to have two other jobs to support himself.

"I know what is the grind," he said. "I've been there. I'm not born rich. I didn't rob nobody to be where I am right now. I made my work, I worked very hard and I'm very proud of it."

GSP (25-2), who held the welterweight title for seven years, sees a major disparity between revenue for executives and revenue for fighters. He echoed concerns of groups attempting to unionize fighters by saying UFC athletes make a much lower percentage of revenue than their counterparts in other sports.

"Most fighters in the UFC, they are starving," he said. "And for UFC, it's very easy when you keep a lot of your staff starving, they are easier to control."

St-Pierre said a lot of fighters retire "broken mentally, physically and financially" and the onus is on stars like himself to stand up to the UFC, because they have leverage.

"It's up to guys like me, Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, guys that are big names to stand for these guys that doesn't have these options," GSP said. "It's unfortunate, because what we do it's not a game. It's very dangerous."