White: I Expected GSP To Relinquish Title
Dana White made it clear following UFC 217, that he expected Georges St-Pierre to defend the middleweight title following his victory over Michael Bisping. White insisted that the UFC and St-Pierre made a deal to unify the 185-pound titles against then-interim champion Robert Whittaker, just as St-Pierre’s contract specifically requested.
Yet, last week St-Pierre vacated his UFC middleweight title due to ulcerative colitis that he was diagnosed with following his win over Bisping. GSP explained he got sick as a result of his dietary plan to jump to the middleweight division. In prior interviews, St-Pierre said that he suffered through several illnesses in camp due to issues resulting from his weight gain for 185 pounds, and that his system appeared to be shutting down on him by the time UFC 217 took place.
The situation forced the UFC to promote Whittaker as its undisputed middleweight champion. And for White, the entire end result with St-Pierre isn’t surprising.
“At the end of the day, there’s a reason I put that stuff in the contract for him to sign,” White told reporters Saturday night at UFC Fresno.
“There’s a reason. And am I shocked? I don’t think anybody is shocked. He came out, he hand-picked Bisping and then went away again. So, whatever, it is what it is.”
Now with unification and GSP a thing of the past, UFC instead booked Whittaker to fight Luke Rockhold on Feb. 10 at UFC 221 in Perth, Western Australia.
White told reporters last month that he would be “super p***ed” if St-Pierre didn’t end up fighting Whittaker, saying of the legendary Canadian champion: “Get in there and see who you can f*cking beat. You wanted to f*cking come back? Welcome back, it’s ugly.” White was much more reserved following UFC Fight Night: Fresno, and attributed much of that change in demeanor to having expected St-Pierre to drop the 185-pound belt from the moment UFC 217 ended.
“I thought I would be (super pissed), but I’m not. I expected it,” White said. “Listen, I had him sign a contract that said he would defend against Whittaker for a reason — because I knew he wouldn’t.
“He doesn’t want to fight anybody at welterweight,” White continued.
“That’s why he fought Bisping. He didn’t want to fight (Tyron) Woodley, he didn’t want to fight (Stephen) ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. He didn’t want to fight any of those guys. He wanted to fight Michael Bisping, and he did, and now he’s off again. So, listen, I’m not shocked, I’m not mad. It is what it is.”
As of this writing, St-Pierre has not given any indications regarding whether he will fight again, saying only that once he was healthy, he looked forward to “working with the UFC to determine what’s next in my career.”