Earlier this year, the UFC announced that former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre would be returning from a nearly four-year hiatus to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. No date was set but the fight was believed to be targeted for this summer. Then, Georges St-Pierre released a statement saying he wouldn’t be ready to fight until October at the earliest. St-Pierre’s delayed timeline seemed to not mesh with the UFC’s plans though, and last week UFC President Dana White claimed he was cancelling the fight between St-Pierre and Bisping and that instead Bisping would need to fight No. 1 contender Yoel Romero.
Yesterday, on his podcast Believe You Me, Bisping reacted to White’s threat to cancel the fight and gave an update on what he’s heard from White and the UFC.
“Honestly, it’s news to me. I haven’t heard anything about it. I reached out to Georges and he said he hasn’t heard anything officially either, and I still haven’t heard anything from the UFC or Dana White. I know that a lot of people are complaining about this potential delay with Georges, so we’ll see what happens.
“So yeah, to clarify, as of right now, no official word from the UFC. I haven’t heard anything and Georges is still hoping for it, I’m still hoping for it. I’ll say this, I was offered the fight twice. I was offered the fight in October and it never materialized. I was offered the fight in January or February and it did materialize and we had a press conference and we shook hands and we stood there in Las Vegas and we talked a bit of shit. So okay, I haven’t had a bout agreement but that is the plan. That was the offer and I accepted and I kind of feel that once a deal is made, we should stick to it.”
For his part, St-Pierre has speculated that this could be a negotiating tactic by White to try and force the former welterweight champion to move up his timeline. Bisping admits that that is a possibility but believes that it’s more likely that the UFC just needs to have their champions competing actively to fill pay-per-views.
“Maybe they need an active champion to fight sooner. I think that’s probably the top of it. I honestly don’t think they’re trying to put pressure on Georges. I think they need title fights on the pay-per-views, which I understand. I understand the frustrations from their side, just like a lot of the middleweight division are kind of frustrated. They need good title fights on their pay-per-views and waiting until November is a significant delay so I understand that. But like I said, we did have a deal so I’d like to speak with the UFC and find out what’s happening. “
Many people are frustrated with the delay, especially other ranked middleweights. At various points, Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi, and Ronaldo Souza have all voiced discontent with Bisping having yet to face a top contender. Bisping last defended the title against Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in October of last year, meaning waiting for St-Pierre’s schedule would put the UFC middleweight title on ice for a year, despite the division having a plethora of deserving contenders and an uninjured champion.
That last part may not be the case anymore though. Bisping says even if the St-Pierre fight is cancelled, he still won’t be able to compete anytime soon because of a lingering knee issue he is still struggling with that would likely keep him out until later this year.
“It’s a blessing in disguise because I can’t fight anytime soon. I can’t exercise, I can’t train. My knee is giving me many, many problems. It was doing it in Thailand, it’s still getting no better. . . So long story short, what I’m getting at is I’m not going to be ready to fight anytime soon so again, that’s another reason why this plays into the perfect scenario for me.”
And as for the other fighters in the division? Bisping says he understands their complaints, but at the end of the day, he’s still planning on fight St-Pierre until officially told otherwise.
“[Rockhold] has no grounds to talk. Some people have, to be honest. Yoel’s been there for a bit now. I understand that. Robert Whittaker is there and Gegard as well but I’ve got a fight booked and until I hear anything differently from an official source, I’m expecting to fight GSP. “
Comped. Most of the “sold out” tickets for WSOF’s New York show were comped.
10-point. The CSAC passed a new revolutionary set of anti-weight-cutting measures.
Fight Motions are awesome.
BJJ Scout is always must watch.
Chiesa responds on TMZ.
Shout out to the BetOnline folks who made these dope fighter transformation gifs.
The Brit Pack. Simon running solo for a UFC 211 recap.
Fight Society. Joanna Champion, Dustin Poirier, and Kevin Lee interviews.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Rockhold coming at the king.
@danawhite I never said I deserved a title shot. I said we (middleweights) deserve clarity. We deserve something to fight for.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017
@danawhite "You have to earn your way in this company"? Tell me how did GSP earn a middleweight title shot? Think before you run your mouth— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017
What fans? Show me them.
I genuinely don’t understand the UFC’s handling of Cyborg. Just let her fight, she’s a star.
It appears this is what will be happening.
When you wanna do it @Ealvarezfight ?????— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) May 16, 2017
I owe you some stitches
@DustinPoirier Next fight is You ... don't get too excited Your not the first guy to hurt me badly before I finished him ..knee or no knee U wanted out— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) May 16, 2017
Wonderboy is just the nicest human. Him vs. Maia would be the most gentlemanly violence ever.
I think we all learned something from the last #UFC.... ALL knees should be legal... take all the guess work out of it!!— Nik Lentz (@NikLentz) May 17, 2017
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
1996: At UFC 9, Dan Severn defeated Ken Shamrock by split decision in one of the worst fights of all time. This was the first UFC event to not feature a tournament structure and the Severn-Shamrock fight was for the superfight championship. This event also saw the sole MMA bout of Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz’s career, a TKO victory over Gary Goodridge.
2014: Bellator MMA made their debut on pay-per-view with a card featuring Quinton Jackson winning a decision over Muhammad Lawal and Will Brooks winning a split decision over Michael Chandler to become the lightweight champion.
Michael Bisping is about to get excoriated by you folks for this knee injury, methinks. What an absolutely perfect heel champion. He’s still 100% going to fight GSP which is insane and makes almost no sense for the UFC to essentially shelve one of their more compelling titles for a year to placate a guy who has in no way proven to be a PPV star. For the dominant MMA promotion on the planet, the UFC often makes absolutely baffling promotional decisions.
Oh, and basically everything from the new CSAC regs is dumb other than the same day weigh in check which is something I’ve wished we had for awhile.
That’s all for today folks. Happy Wednesday and see y’all tomorrow.
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 it.