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Verbal jabs fly between Georges St-Pierre and tardy Michael Bisping: ‘Are you still drunk right now?’

Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre Press Conference Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS — Georges St-Pierre is officially back in the UFC, and it didn’t take long for the bad blood to materialize for his comeback fight against UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.

St-Pierre and Bisping held an introductory press conference for their upcoming UFC tilt on Friday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and although Bisping was several minutes late to the proceedings, sparks flew from the moment the bombastic Brit emerged onto the stage. Bisping immediately announced his arrival by hurling insults at St-Pierre and repeatedly telling the former welterweight great to “shut the f*ck up,” all while sporting a raspy voice that sounded as if it had been through a long night.

“I think Vegas got the best out of you, unfortunately,” St-Pierre said to Bisping.

“It doesn’t matter because I’m going to get the f*cking best out of you, so shut the f*ck up,” Bisping said.

That opening exchange set the tone for a surprisingly hostile dynamic between Bisping and St-Pierre, who over the past year have continually angled to fight one another, despite the fact that St-Pierre is a career welterweight who has never competed inside the Octagon above 170 pounds.

“You’re talking about being a f*cking welterweight. You are a welterweight, okay? I’m a middleweight,” Bisping said to St-Pierre. “I can’t wait to f*cking square up against you. Square up. Stand up and look at the size of me, and look at the size of you. Go back to f*cking, Canada.”

“That’s all you have on me,” St-Pierre shot back. “That’s all you have. Skill, fighting IQ, athleticism, everything is on my side.”

“Oh, is it really?” Bisping replied. “Height? Reach? Good looks? This f*cking accent? The jab, the punch, the kick? Everything. Listen, Georges, while you were away, because you were so scared of everybody taking steroids, I was man enough to still be fighting those guys. You went away. You went and f*cking chased aliens. I don’t know what you did. No one gives a f*ck where you were and what you did. Coming back, the sport is in a different place. Game over.”

“I think you should shut up. You’re embarrassing yourself right now,” St-Pierre said quickly. “Are you still drunk right now? Are you still drunk or what? What’s going on? What is going on with this? Your voice is kinda, what is happening with you? My God. Are you healthy? Are you okay? Up here, did you get hit too much or what?”

“Hey Georges, I’ll go out on an all-night f*cking bender and still beat you, pal,” Bisping said. “I won’t even train. Look at the state of you, you little f*cking midget.”

Bisping and St-Pierre are expected to meet sometime in the second half of 2017, with UFC president Dana White targeting a July date during International Fight Week as the promotion’s goal.

When the time comes, the fight will mark the end of a near four-year hiatus for St-Pierre, who served as a record-breaking UFC welterweight champion before exiting the sport in 2013 following his ninth consecutive title defense. St-Pierre always hinted that he would be back though, and the Canadian icon announced his desire to fight Bisping last June following the upset win over Luke Rockhold that catapulted Bisping into his place atop the UFC middleweight division.

“Hey Georges, where’s your belt? Where’s your f*cking belt? You don’t have one,” Bisping said at one point to St-Pierre. “The sport moved on, buddy. The sport moved on.”

“Well, I could’ve stolen one while you were out in Vegas drinking,” St-Pierre responded, adding later, “I’m here to do a job, and that’s going to be to beat up that drunk man right now.”

“Why is the onus on me being f*cking drunk?” Bisping responded. “What’s that got to do with anything? I’ve been drunk throughout my entire f*cking career. Dana will testify to that. Why does that make this fight any f*cking different? Why does that matter? I’m English. I’m in f*cking Vegas. I haven’t got a fight. Hey, when is the fight, Georges? When is the fight? When you do want to fight? Because I’ll fight right now. I’ll fight right now, motherf*cker. That’s the difference between you and me.”

“You don’t scare me, not even one bit,” St-Pierre replied.

“I’m not trying to scare you,” Bisping said. “But here’s the facts: I’m a real fighter. I’m a real fighter. You’re an athlete, and good for you. You’re a very, very good athlete, but you’re an athlete. I’m a fighter. Fact.”

St-Pierre resisted a move up to middleweight throughout his days as welterweight champion, despite the UFC’s desire to stage a superfight against 185-pound legend Anderson Silva. But now that St-Pierre is back, he plans to fulfill those long-discussed goals of becoming just one of four men to win UFC titles in two separate divisions.

“I’m going to make some adjustments, of course, try to gain on some weight,” St-Pierre said. “Realistically speaking, I won’t be able to get so much bigger. I’m going to try to put on some muscle mass, get prepared efficiently, come out and do my job.

“I just wish Michael Bisping would come out with a different song than all of the guys that I’ve fought before. ‘Oh, you’re just an athlete, blah, blah, blah. You’re not a fighter.’ My journey in mixed martial arts is more than legend. I’ve [overcome] incredible obstacles. I’ve fought guys, I’ve had to come back. Carlos Condit and everybody I’ve fought. B.J. Penn 1, I came back and I showed true heart, and that’s why I’m here today. I’m not an easy target and my journey is honorable.”

“You’re talking about beating B.J. Penn, a featherweight,” Bisping responded. “He’s a featherweight. I’m a middleweight. I’m a legit middleweight. I used to fight at light heavyweight. I was 15-0 at light heavyweight, pal. You are a very, very good fighter, Georges. I respect you very much. But at the end of the day, there’s a reason why they have weight classes. It’s a simple as that.

“And I respect you coming back, but I know why you picked me. You think I’m an easy fight, just like Anderson did, just like Luke Rockhold did when I knocked him out in the first round. Just like everybody does. And time and time again, I prove them wrong. So, this is the guy, the greatest of all-time, didn’t want to face Anderson when he was the man, but he comes out of retirement to face me? Yeah, real good fighter.”

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