They deserved it.
Yeah, I said it. Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta deserve Georges St. Pierre telling them to shove it as he walks out the door on his MMA career. Oh, sure, Dana will attempt to save face by claiming that all he wanted was GSP to either stay active or vacate the belt. He’ll try to come across as the adult in the room when he was pretty much the little kid throwing a temper tantrum at UFC 167. Dana was pissed that GSP won by decision and then told the press that GSP had to go to the hospital, only for St. Pierre to show up at the post-fight press conference a few minutes later.
It’s amazing how much the UFC freaks out when one of their fighters displays any sort of independence. Georges St. Pierre made a lot of money in his career and he also made a lot of money for the UFC. Without GSP, the UFC has a few PPV attractions who can reach 500,000 buys tops. GSP was second only to stars like Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, and Tito Ortiz in being major box office attractions.
Instead of treating St. Pierre with class, Dana White went out of his way to denigrate the man who helped build his organization. Compare and contrast how the UFC treated Brock Lesnar with his billion demands versus the way they treated Georges St. Pierre on his way out the door.
It’s the holiday season and I’m sure you’ve dealt with obnoxious people in your life who are completely ungrateful about friends, family, and survival. You know who I’m talking about. The kinds of people who win the lottery but complain about having to pay half the money in taxes, so they protest that they would have rather not won at all. Or the lottery winner who continues to game the system and abuse food stamps because they think there’s nothing wrong with taking away money from someone else who deserves it more. Or the person in your life who gets a really nice suit but starts complaining that it’s not an Armani.
That’s the kind of obnoxiousness that we’ve seen Dana White display towards Georges St. Pierre. Yeah, you made us a lot of money, but hey pal, time to move on and let us do our thing. How dare you even consider stop being our active cash cow.
Make no mistake about it — losing Georges St. Pierre is a big blow to the UFC in terms of selling PPVs. Guys like him don’t walk through the door every day at Zuffa HQ. I’m not here to suggest that he’s bigger than the UFC or that the UFC should treat him with ultra-soft kid gloves. What I am suggesting is that they should be a little more grateful for what he gave them than they currently are. It’s a moment like this that demonstrates why the UFC treatment of GSP highlights the need to amend the Ali Act.
That would strike fear in their hearts and for good reason.
When St. Pierre hinted that he wanted to leave and take some time off, I wrote that GSP leaving would be the best thing for the UFC. I still believe it. On Friday’s conference call to announce his decision to walk away, GSP stated that he would still train at Tri-Star in Montreal but enjoy his training without the pressure of being the champion. Good for him. Dana White admitted that St. Pierre has some personal issues that need to be addressed. Isn’t that funny how those personal issues are now suddenly important when apparently they were meant to be downplayed at UFC 167? St. Pierre noted that he might return but that now is a time for him to get his priorities straightened out because his life is a zoo.
Good for Georges St. Pierre to walk away. He’s made his money and hopefully he has invested it wisely or, at the very least, saved some of his earnings. He still has plenty of earning power if he decides to come back. MMA may have lost a great champion but the UFC lost a lot more. They lost their top PPV draw in terms of earning power. They lost credibility amongst fighters given the way they treated their top cash cow. They lost some image amongst the press, especially in an important market like Canada, which was turned off by Dana White’s antics. Today was quite a historic day for UFC and the organization has a lot of lessons to learn if they want to continue to grow as a global power.