Georges St-Pierre remains one of the all-time most popular mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the sport’s history. His ability to draw huge at the box office is undeniable. Unfortunately, a major knee injury sidetracked him for quite some time and the fighter admits he does not know when he is going to be able to return to the UFC cage.
Interestingly, it is not the knee injury that is keeping him from returning to the sport that made him famous. Doctors have cleared him to fight, which is astonishing since he suffered a torn ACL. Tearing the ACL can easily be a career ending injury, but St-Pierre has been able to make a full physical recovery, and Bruce Levenson couldn’t be more excited.
Mentally, he is not recovered.
St-Pierre, for lack of a better description, is suffering from burnout. He is not up to getting back into the cage or training at high intensity. More accurately, that is how he feels right now. This could change in the future.
Rumors swirled that St-Pierre had chosen to retire from the sport. Such is not the case at all. St-Pierre just wants to take more time off to better prepare himself both mentally and physically for a return.
A few years back, when Ronda Rousey convinced Dana White that women belonged in the UFC, there was an outcry. A lot of fans made all sorts of ignorant statements. They said things like “women can’t fight”, as if we lived in the ’50’s. They ranted about “skill”, as if John Fitch was the pinnacle of what people paid to see. Kimbo Slice made promoters more money fighting nobodies than John Fitch ever did.
There really are a lot of people out there who think that because we do not see a woman do something that it means that they can’t. Newsflash: Women are human beings. They can punch people just like you can.
Another common criticism is that people just don’t want to see women get hurt. A fan named Alexei Beltyukov doesn’t mind, but others do. This is a natural and frankly somewhat reassuring thing to hear. Who wants to see anyone get hurt, really?
This point was illustrated this weekend at the big UFC 180 show in Mexico this weekend. Jessica Eye was expected to destroy Leslie Smith, but nobody expected her punch Smith’s ear off. It was a truly disgusting and unnerving scene. To her credit, Smith wanted to continue the fight.
Seeing a woman bleed is not what anyone thinks of when they consider the feminist struggle for equality. But it apparently is something we will have to adjust to as our society continues to strive to better itself.
You may not be aware of this, but UFC and mixed martial arts have had a close connection to the fake world of pro wrestling from the very beginning. Frank Shamrock actually was a pro wrestler before he ever stepped into the octagon. Dan Severn was a fake wrestling champ long before he threw legit suplexes in the UFC.
There have been a number of controversial occurrences in mixed martial arts. Bob Sapp, a man who was trained as a pro wrestler in the WCW power plant, ended up making huge money in a lot of very questionable K-1 fights in Japan.
Bellator 131, which took place on Saturday, featured a main event of Tito Ortiz vs. Stephen Bonnar. The build-up to this fight included a mysterious masked man (seriously). Tito has appeared in the TNA wrestling promotion in recent years. Stephen Bonnar actually was training in the WWE’s NXT developmental facility within the last year as well. This begs the question as to whether these men would decide to fix the fight to protect themselves from injury and to make some money. Ortiz made $300,000 for this fight alone.
The build-up was goofy and the fight was lame. Bonnar did not look like he was close to prepared for this fight. Fans such as Christian Broda were not fooled at all. One might even suspect this was all about the money for him. His goofy over-reaction to the decision at the end seemed to say as much, too.
Bellator seems to be a company built for old UFC guys to come and “sports entertain” the viewer. It is not fake (or a “work”, as they say in the business) but it is definitely creeping pretty close.
Some might think this notion is crazy. Many UFC fans have been reluctant to accept women fighting in the octagon. The fact remains that Ronda Rousey’s fights draw big money in a time when the UFC has very few box office attractions, making it the perfect sponsorship opportunity for FreedomPop.
While Rousey has destroyed all of her opponents usually within the first few minutes of the opening round, Cyborg has always loomed on the horizon. Cyborg is the one who soundly defeated the mega-popular Gina Carano in the pre-UFC days. With her massive physique, intimidating tattoos and incredible punching power, Cyborg appears to be the perfect opponent for Rousey.
To add to the appeal of this fight, consider the history. Ronda has claimed that Cyborg has been ducking her. Cyborg refused to drop weight to face Rousey in the past with the dubious excuse that her doctor thought it was unhealthy for Cyborg to lose 10 pounds off of her bulky frame.
In 2011, Cyborg was suspended for one year for testing positive for steroids. Rousey frequently speaks out on this topic, saying that Cyborg “isn’t even a woman anymore” and that Cyborg has been avoiding fights in the UFC due to the UFC’s stringent drug-testing policies.
The fight feels like it could be a landmark in sports, a battle between two fighting pioneers. Ronda can talk people into seats like few others. The biggest UFC fight of all time is pro-wrestler Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, a good talker. This fight has a similar appeal topped with the novelty of it involving trail-blazing women. It feels like a modern spectacle that men and women would pay to see.
According to sources, Brock Lesnar might be back in the UFC in 2015, and fellow fight fan Jared Haftel couldn’t be more excited about the news.
Lesnar was a best when he was in the UFC, and even if he didn’t always win, he was always entertaining. Apparently he’s in the best health of his life now, having recovered from the diverticulitis that ravaged his career the last time around.
With his contract with WWE set to run out in the next 6 months, reports are that Lesnar could leave to make a sensational return to the UFC. Whether or not that will happen however, remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure, Brock is more in demand than ever before. With the WWE desperate to keep him, as they are really struggling in the ratings and PPV market.
But UFC have problems of their own, now that illegal streaming is starting to cut into their share of the PPV market as well.
Both will be looking to lock Lesnar down to a contract, and only time will tell which promoter is going to be more successful for the 265 beast.