When the UFC announced last week that Georges St-Pierre would be coming out of retirement to challenge Michael Bisping for his UFC middleweight championship, the response was mixed. While many fans were excited about St-Pierre’s return, and even believed the fight itself was interesting, some did not like the fact that St-Pierre was cutting to the front of the line of a division currently rife with qualified title challengers, specifically, previously presumed title contender Yoel Romero. Well, add Joe Rogan to the list of people less than thrilled about the booking.
Rogan recently went on ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast where he voiced his desire to see Romero get his day in court, and why he thinks Bisping vs. St-Pierre is “not good at all.”
“I really want to see Yoel Romero get a shot at the title. I know he’s waiting, he’s waiting right now for what I think is an interesting fight between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre. I think that’s an interesting fight. I don’t like it in terms of the hierarchy of the division. I think that, as far as the division goes, it’s not good at all. It sort of hijacks the whole situation.”
The decision to have St-Pierre challenge for the title coming off of a three-year layoff, in a weight division he’s never fought in, is the latest in a string of decisions met with skepticism from die-hards in the MMA community. Recent UFC decisions like introducing a plethora of interim titles or creating a women’s featherweight division despite lacking almost any fighters in the weight class, have been viewed by some as sacrificing the “sporting legitimacy” of the UFC in favor of quick monetary gains, causing some fans to worry about the direction the sport is taking. And though Rogan doesn’t harbor those same concerns, he says the purist in him doesn’t like some of the recent choices being made.
“I don’t like it. I’m not concerned because there’s great fighters and you get them together and you make great fights. I’m not concerned at that. But from a purist point of view, and someone who feels like - look, if you’re going to have a champion and you’re gonna have these divisions where one man rules over the division, there should be a very clear hierarchy... If you have a champion and you have all these people waiting in line to get a shot at that champion, the person who is perceived to be the best in that division is the one who should be fighting the champion next. The champion should always be fighting the number one available challenger. Right now, that is Yoel Romero.”
Rogan goes on to explain that he understands the reasons for making the fight and that he understands and appreciates Bisping’s position, that St-Pierre is a big money fight and that Bisping deserves that payday. However, despite his agreement that Bisping deserves the “big money fight,” Rogan says that, promotionally, what is the point of having champions if money fights are going to take precedence?
“As a person who deeply respects the position of champion - if you’re gonna do this whole interim title thing and you’re gonna have guys come back after being out of the sport for three years and get a shot right at the title, why have f**king championships at all?
“Why have a champion at all? Just set up great fights. And if you’re just setting up great fights, well that’s a great fight. Bisping versus GSP is a great fight. If you’re going to have a title, this is the champion of the world, then the champion should be defending his title against the number one challenger and that right now is Yoel Romero.”
The one thing that has made the UFC’s decision to once again forego matching Bisping up against a true contender more palatable for fans bothered by the lack of sporting meritocracy is Bisping’s claim that after he beats St-Pierre, he intends to fight Yoel Romero (or whoever else is the number one contender) on a six- to eight-week turnaround. And while, in a perfect world, that would be optimal, Rogan is skeptical.
“You know, Michael says that he’s going to fight Georges and then six weeks later he said he’ll be ready to fight Yoel Romero right afterwards but I wouldn’t believe that if I was Yoel Romero. When was the last time anybody ever did that? Has anybody ever defended the title against a former world champion and all-time great and then six weeks later defended the title again? I mean, come on, get out of here. That’s not happening.
“I see him drunk, in Vegas, in English flag underwear, having a great time. I think he’s gonna make a giant payday and good for him. I get it.”
Free Legacy fight.
Tim Means interview.
DC is upset.
He’s a popular man.
And you wonder why Vitor Belfort headlines every event in Brazil pic.twitter.com/9phf5NP8lU— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) March 9, 2017
@RothwellFighter keep your head up!!!To everyone else let the facts play out before you have a opinion. That's fair!!!!— tim means (@MeansTim) March 8, 2017
Never ceases to amaze me that dudes who fight alongside and train with women, continue to say ish like this.
Top sparring today with Joshua Buatsi Olympic bronze medalist pic.twitter.com/UWdxypVZ6B— Tom Breese (@BreeseMMA) March 8, 2017
Feels like there are better uses for that TV than this.
Derrick Lewis appears to be enjoying vacation.
Woodley getting his acting on.
Chiesa rocking a Diaz shirt.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
Because I thought of it while watching the rankings report, here are my current P4P rankings.
- Demetrious Johnson
- Tyron Woodley
- Conor McGregor
- Jose Aldo
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
- Daniel Cormier
- Anthony Johnson
- Joseph Benavidez
- Max Holloway
- Stipe Miocic
- Amanda Nunes
- Demian Maia
- Fabricio Werdum
- Cody Garbrandt
- Dominick Cruz
Also, Robbie Lawler should be ranked ahead of Stephen Thompson at welterweight as should Maia. Thompson has wins over exactly one currently ranked welterweight... Jake Ellenberger. Maia has six. I’m sure y’all will hate both of those takes so have at me. Until tomorrow, be easy.
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.