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Official: GSP steps away, Vacates Title

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It’s no longer a rumor. Georges St-Pierre’s announcement was in many ways what many MMA fans initial feared — retirement. The dreaded “R word” never left the mouth of the now former welterweight champ, as he leaves the door open to “maybe” returning.

For now Georges in his words “indefinitely” taking a break from MMA to sort out his own personal issues. Of course, the show must go on as White has already scheduled a bout for the vacated title.  Johny Hendricks will now fight Robbie Lawler next year at UFC 171 on March 15. Here’s the words from “Rush” himself from today’s teleconference.

“I’ve been fighting for a long time,” St-Pierre said. “I have 22 fights in the UFC, and 15 were for a world title. I’ve been fighting a long time at a high level, a lot of pressure and criticizing. I’ve decided I needed to take some time off.”

The news should not come as much of a surprise, as St-Pierre hinted at walking away shortly after his controversial win over Johny Hendricks.

“I can’t sleep at night, man,” he said after the Nov. 16 event. “I’m going crazy. I have issues and I need to get out for a while. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I feel like I’m leaving everything out now, but I need to leave part of my life personal. I need to get out for a little bit, and that’s it.”

UFC president Dana White was originally criticized for criticizing GSP’s talks of “stepping away,” but shortly after the announcement, White seemed genuinely happy to oblige his biggest pay-per-view draw.

“I agree with Georges 100 percent,” White said. “… I think it’s the right move.Definitely one day I will come back,” he said. “I’ll be stronger when I do, but it has to be on my own terms.”

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