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Morning Report: Georges St-Pierre back in negotiations with the UFC about returning to fight

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esther lin

Georges St-Pierre has had himself a busy two weeks. First, he announced he was teaming up with Bjorn Rebney, Cain Velasquez, Tim Kennedy, T.J. Dillashaw, and (maybe?) Donald Cerrone to form the MMA Athletes Association (MMAAA). And now he says he's back in talks with the UFC to negotiate his return to the cage.

In a recent interview with TSN, St-Pierre reaffirmed that his intention was still to fight again and that the UFC reached back out to him on the day he announced the formation of the MMAAA.

"No, no it doesn't mean I'm done with the UFC. Like other members, like Cain Velasquez, Tim Kennedy, Cowboy Cerrone, they're all seasoned fighters. Doesn't mean I'm done. Actually, the night that we launched the association we received a letter, Rodolphe [Beaulieu] received a letter - my agent - from the UFC lawyer saying that they want to renew the negotiation with me because at the point where I was before the negotiation, the communication was cut. So we didn't have any kind of communication."

St-Pierre has been vocal about his intent to return the UFC for many months and was hoping to fight on UFC 206 this weekend in Toronto, even enrolling in the USADA testing program back in August to ensure his eligibility to fight. But when his team and the UFC couldn't reach a satisfactory agreement for his return, the talks died and GSP was left in limbo. St-Pierre says that even a few weeks ago he still thought he might sneak onto the card and  was training in preparation but the call never came, not even when Daniel Cormier withdrew from the main event due to injury causing a minor seismic shift in the MMA world.

Cormier's injury forced the UFC to promote the co-main event - a featherweight scrap between Max Holloway and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis - to the main event and, as a corollary, to strip Conor McGregor of his featherweight belt so they could make that fight for an interim belt (ostensibly to increase visibility and marketing for a now floundering event) and promote current interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo to undisputed champion. And according to him, St-Pierre was never considered as an alternate option to that ordeal despite being ready to go.

"The thing is, I was training until a very recent point. I was fighting, I was training to get ready for a fight in Toronto. I really thought it would have worked out and in case someone got hurt, they would have maybe called me or I thought maybe they would have called me at the last minute, just to take me off guard. I didn't know. But one or two weeks ago I pulled the plug, I knew it was not happening.

"I was hoping earlier to get on the card for Toronto but it's not happening and now I guess they'll keep talking and we'll see if they can come to an agreement. Same story as before but now I have more options. I'm [a] free agent. I don't have to be in the UFC. I could go somewhere else."

The UFC disputes St-Pierre's claim, saying he's still under contract and that it "reserves its rights under the law" to have him honor the contract. The UFC seems to want to retain St-Pierre under his old contract from before his retirement three years ago and St-Pierre maintains the offer by the UFC is unfair strong-arming. The two parties being at loggerheads is even keeping St-Pierre from attending the event in Toronto to support his teammates fighting on the card.

"I will not be there but I remain a big fan. I'm gonna watch some of my teammates fighting on TV from my home but I won't be there unfortunately. I wish I would have been there. The best place would be in the cage. I was hoping to get it done against Michael Bisping and he was hoping it too but unfortunately the conditions that they were offering me for the contract were unacceptable. Any smart person would not have accepted it. A person who would have accepted it is scared and has no choice but I'm healthy, I'm wealthy, I have the choice. I don't have to take something that is not advantageous for me. I mean equitable. Because now I was taking all the risk and it was not equitable."

To further complicate matters, St-Pierre says he's not just negotiating for himself anymore, but for all the fighters. As the most famous member of the MMAAA, everything St-Pierre does will carry with it deeper connotations. It seems likely that St-Pierre will be even more incentivized to get his "fair share" meaning the UFC likely won't be a fan of losing that extra equity. However these new negotiations play out though, St-Pierre says he's okay with it because to accept lesser would be hypocritical and wouldn't help the fighters that he's ultimately trying to fight for.

"Who or what kind of person would I be if I'm taking a fight under conditions that are not equitable and I'm fighting for the other person that is trying to make their condition of work better. So if I do something, it's smart to do it for myself first and then I try to do it for the other person. That's my mentality.

"The truth is, I've met a lot of guys that when they finish their career they're broken physically, mentally, financially and they have a family to feed and they have no insurance to care [for them]. This is unacceptable and that's what we're fighting for. I'm an exception because I'm very lucky. Even though I didn't really have my fair share I ended up healthy and wealthy which is very rare in this business. Trust me, it is very rare. And I'm very happy, I feel very blessed to be in this situation and be able to fight for these guys that don't have the same condition."

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MUST-READ STORIES

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Gassing. Ronda Rousey says Amanda Nunes is predicting a first round KO because she "gasses in the second round."

Fight the power. Conor McGregor is challenging his Nevada commission sanctions in court.

C&A. The MMAAA responds to a cease and desist letter from lawyers in UFC anti-trust case.

Uncle Dana called. Donald Cerrone eases back on his MMAAA relationship.

Bully beatdown. Matt Brown calls Donald Cerrone a "bully" and vows to "expose the that truth out of him."

Technically. Anthony Pettis says Jose Aldo is the featherweight champion due to a "technicality."

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MEDIA STEW

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Ronda's new promo.

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Ronda looks friggin' jacked.

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Look at Tom Duquesnoy go all fruit ninja in super slo-mo.

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He's not wrong.

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Fitch getting active with his video game. Can't speak to validity.

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LISTEN UP

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Heavy Hands.

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Fights Gone By.

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Show the Art.

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TWEETS

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Taking a title is "doing nothing."

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Sad day for MMA.

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Damn Carlos.

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Lol.

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In case y'all want to know my mindset

A photo posted by Donald Cerrone (@cowboycerrone) on 

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It did though.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Ed Ruth (1-0) vs. Emanuele Palombi (5-2)Bellator 168, December 10.

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-3) vs. Nina Ansaroff (6-5); UFC Fight Night Phoenix, January 15.

Raphael Assuncao (23-5) vs. Aljamain Sterling (12-1); UFC on Fox 23, January 28.

Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. Jared Cannonier (9-1)UFC 208, February 11.

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

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2006: Gina Carano made her Strikeforce debut, winning a unanimous decision over Elaina Maxwell at Strikeforce: Triple Threat.

2007: Roger Huerta submitted Clay Guida in the 2007 Fight of the Year at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale.

2012: Ben Henderson successfully defended his UFC lightweight championship, winning a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

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I'm now going to say that we never see GSP back in the octagon. Whatever terms he believes to be fair, the UFC surely won't agree to.

Almost time for a big fight weekend, y'all. See you tomorrow.

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If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.