The UFC and Georges St-Pierre are currently at odds over the former welterweight champion’s potential return to the Octagon, and questions remain to whether the Canadian superstar will fight under the UFC banner ever again. Here are five reasons St-Pierre could finish his career with another promotion.
St-Pierre said during an interview with MMAFighting that he’s been negotiating his return to the UFC since February 2016 and they still haven’t been able to work out an agreement. Right now, it looks like money is the sticking point. GSP, one of the biggest draws in UFC history, is reportedly asking for upwards of $10 million in his return, which undoubtedly will be one of the biggest events in UFC history, but the UFC is standing firm on their latest offer. GSP has now declared himself a free agent while the UFC maintains he still under the contract he signed before reitiring. The separation could lead GSP to seek other arrangements.
Another sticking point in GSP’s contract dispute with the UFC is the issue of sponsorship money. GSP originally wanted to re-work his contract because of how the UFC’s new uniform policy would affect his sponsorship deal with Under Armour. Under a different fight promotion, St-Pierre would be able to wear his main sponsors into the Octagon and reap the financial benefits for doing so, which one would assume is more than the $20,000 he would make from Reebok if he returned to the UFC.
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Many fighters who have crossed into other promotions, like former contender Rory MacDonald, have said that the ability to self-promote outside the UFC is one of the pros to making the jump. In a different promotion, St-Pierre would be able to promote his own fights and would likely earn a much larger share of the PPV money for his effort. GSP is already one of the biggest stars in Canada, so letting him loose in a market where the UFC is currently lacking star power is a win-win for St-Pierre and whatever promotion he decides to join.
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A matchup with Ben Askren
There are few tasty matchups for Georges St-Pierre in the UFC, including a superfight with Anderson Silva and potential rematches against Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any intriguing matchups outside the UFC for St-Pierre. Sitting at 15-0 and waiting for a real test at welterweight is OneFC champion Ben Askren. Askren is a former Olympian with one of the best wrestling resumes in the entire game. GSP is always looking for a challenge, and Askren issued one as soon as he heard St-Pierre was a “free agent.” A fight versus Askren is likely the most lucrative fight GSP could make outside of the UFC.
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Stick it to the UFC
St-Pierre says he has no hard feelings toward the UFC and understands they are only doing what’s best for them. But with Dana White accusing St-Pierre of not having the fire to fight, there has to be a small part of him that wants to prove White wrong … all while in a different promotion. It appears as if the rift between the promotion -- White in particular -- and GSP has been growing since St-Pierre’s retirement three years ago and the Canadian may have finally found an out.