A lot of fuss has been made about Georges St. Pierre’s return to the UFC. After rumors flared up last Summer, many expected the former welterweight champ to return for UFC 206 in Toronto. That didn’t happen, but eventually, a return was announced, and a bout with Michael Bisping. No date was set, despite a press conference featuring the two, but most expected GSP to return to action this Summer, perhaps at UFC 213 in Las Vegas.
Then GSP said he wouldn’t be ready to go until after October. All hell subsequently broke loose. The bout, it seemed, was off. In an attempt to salvage a payday perhaps, Michael Bisping said he was injured. The promotion booked an interim title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker.
Now, St. Pierre has explained the reason for his delayed return to action. According to GSP, who spoke at the C2 Montréal conference Friday, it’s a minor eye injury keeping him from sparring that has slowed down his comeback. Said GSP (via MMA Fighting):
Trust me, I’m not the kind of guy who thinks, ‘Hey, I’m going to make everybody wait for me. I don’t want to fight during the summer, I want to take my time …’
That’s not the reason. If it were up to me, I would come back. The reason is I had a problem with my eye. I had an injury.
My vision has not been back yet. It will be back. It’s something very minor. The doctor insisted for me that I don’t spar until September.
GSP did not go further into the nature of the injury. However, he did state that the UFC was aware of the issue all along, and that he could not fight this Summer.
The UFC was aware of it. They knew I couldn’t fight during the summer, but they still insisted on doing that press conference with Michael Bisping. And when it happened, we were not very excited about the idea, but we wanted that fight, so we decided to do it, but then it turned into a negative thing because it took so long.
But UFC knew. Everyone knew. The people concerned knew that that was the case, but they still tried to put pressure on me to fight in July. That’s the reason why I’m coming out public today about the reason why I’m not fighting this summer.
The end result is that the GSP vs. Michael Bisping middleweight title fight is in limbo. In theory, the winner of UFC 213’s interim middleweight title bout between Romero and Whittaker should then face Bisping to unify the titles. However, there’s a chance the promotion may left Bisping fight St. Pierre anyway, and let the interim title winner wait. Stranger things have happened, after all.
That said, the current push seems to be to have St. Pierre fight the winner of Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia for his old welterweight title.