Georges St. Pierre was king for a while, and he retired while on top. But, like any true employee from the past, he’s got opinions on his former employers and how they run their business. And since he doesn’t rely on them for a paycheck anymore, he can say what he wants.
Which he has. To Bleacher Report scribe Jeremy Botter.
There’s the reason why he left…
St-Pierre left for a bunch of reasons, but one of the major ones centered on his belief that the UFC had a drug problem. According to St-Pierre, he began expressing his dissatisfaction with the UFC’s problem with performance-enhancing drugs many years ago, long before he made the decision to walk away.
His pleas fell upon deaf ears.
There’s the Reebok deal…
St-Pierre’s status as one of the greatest fighters in history and the wealth he stockpiled from the moment his career began afford him a rare place among fighters: He can say what he wants and doesn’t fret about the consequences.
“A few years ago, I didn’t make as much money. And it was easy for people there to say, ‘Oh yeah? You’re talking bad about us? You’re out.’ There are a lot of guys in the same situation,” he said. “They think the same things as me, but they do not have the power that I have. I don’t need to fight anymore. If I don’t want to fight, I am wealthy, I am happy. I don’t need this anymore. Maybe I would like to, but I don’t need to.”
The recent firing of beloved cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran highlighted St-Pierre’s point. The Reebok deal is here to stay, and if you don’t like it, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. And maybe that’s why you don’t hear fighters really speaking out about the giant pay cuts they’ve suffered as a result of the deal or about how sponsorship money—once a brilliant way to make a decent living outside the cage for these guys—has been completely evaporated both by the Reebok deal itself and by the sponsorship tax put in place a few years ago.
GSP acknowledges that his role as ex-employee enables him a lot more latitude in speaking out. And he feels it’s his duty to say something.
“This is a very hard life. These guys don’t make a lot of money, and they have to keep their mouth shut. If you open them and say what you think…you see what happened in the Reebok thing. If you talk bad about certain things, you’re kicked out,” St-Pierre said. “Some of these guys need the income. I understand that. And I’m no different than them.
“But now I’m in a position where I can say what I think. I’m not being disrespectful, but I am talking for a lot of people that trust me.”
As for the big question – if St. Pierre will ever return – well, that’s not looking too good, folks. If you read between the lines, GSP’s outlook on the UFC and the current state of the sport probably means a comeback isn’t happening anytime soon.