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Dana White says he ‘expected’ Georges St-Pierre to vacate middleweight title: ‘I don’t think anybody is shocked’

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Dana White responded to Georges St-Pierre vacating the UFC middleweight title.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Last month, in the aftermath of UFC 217, UFC president Dana White made it clear that he expected Georges St-Pierre to defend the middleweight title he captured with a stunning victory over Michael Bisping. White insisted that the UFC and St-Pierre made a deal, and that St-Pierre was expected to fulfill his end of the bargain and unify the 185-pound titles with a matchup against then-interim champion Robert Whittaker, just as St-Pierre’s contract specifically requested.

That didn’t end up happening.

St-Pierre vacated his UFC middleweight title this past week, citing the ulcerative colitis that he was diagnosed with following his win over Bisping. GSP explained that he believed he got sick as a result of his move up to the middleweight division. In prior interviews, St-Pierre said that he suffered through several illnesses in camp due to issues resulting from his weight gain for 185 pounds, and that his system appeared to be shutting down on him by the time UFC 217 took place.

The situation forced the UFC to promote Whittaker as its undisputed middleweight champion. And for White, the entire end result with St-Pierre isn’t surprising.

“At the end of the day, there’s a reason I put that stuff in the contract for him to sign,” White told reporters Saturday night at UFC Fresno. “There’s a reason. And am I shocked? I don’t think anybody is shocked. He came out, he hand-picked Bisping and then went away again. So, whatever, it is what it is.”

With St-Pierre out of the picture, the UFC instead booked Whittaker to fight Luke Rockhold on Feb. 10 at UFC 221 in Perth, Western Australia.

White told reporters last month that he would be “super pissed” if St-Pierre didn’t end up fighting Whittaker, saying of the legendary Canadian champion: “Get in there and see who you can f*cking beat. You wanted to f*cking come back? Welcome back, it’s ugly.” But White was more restrained regarding the topic on Saturday. He attributed much of that change in demeanor to having expected St-Pierre to drop the 185-pound belt from the moment UFC 217 ended.

“I thought I would be (super pissed), but I’m not. I expected it,” White said. “Listen, I had him sign a contract that said he would defend against Whittaker for a reason — because I knew he wouldn’t.

“He doesn’t want to fight anybody at welterweight,” White continued. “That’s why he fought Bisping. He didn’t want to fight (Tyron) Woodley, he didn’t want to fight (Stephen) ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. He didn’t want to fight any of those guys. He wanted to fight Michael Bisping, and he did, and now he’s off again. So, listen, I’m not shocked, I’m not mad. It is what it is.”

As of this writing, St-Pierre has not given any indications regarding whether he will fight again, saying only that once he was healthy, he looked forward to “working with the UFC to determine what’s next in my career.”

St-Pierre, 36, is widely considered the greatest welterweight to ever compete in MMA. He is undefeated over his past 13 fights, a streak that dates back to 2007. GSP is also one of only four men to capture titles in two different UFC weight divisions. He is currently the No. 2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, according to the promotion’s media-generated welterweight rankings.