Citing undisclosed personal issues, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre announced Friday afternoon that he will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the sport of mixed martial arts and vacating his title, effective immediately.
“I’ve been fighting a very long time at a high level, and it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism, and I decided that I need to take time off,” said the 32-year-old Montreal native. “I know the UFC’s a business, and it can’t wait on me. They have to keep things rolling, so I’ve vacated my title for the respect of the other competitors, and one day, when I feel like it, I may come back. But right now, I need a break.”
The news comes less than a month after St-Pierre’s grueling split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in Las Vegas. The win marked GSP’s ninth successful title defense.
“What people don’t understand is that in the situation that I am at, it’s a lot of pressure,” said St-Pierre. “Every fight I’m carrying weight on my shoulders, and every fight it’s like you add weight. At one point it becomes so heavy that I have a hard time carrying it myself. Physically, I’m a hundred percent and I’m still young and on top of the world, but mentally, I cannot go through another training camp right now and I don’t know when I will be able to. One day, when I feel I’m ready, I’m gonna come back, and instead of having a red sticker on my glove, I’m gonna have a blue sticker and I’ll be the challenger. I’ve climbed Everest three times before, when I lost to Hughes, to Serra, and then after my (knee) injury, and if I have to do it a fourth time, believe me, I feel like I’m gonna do it.”
On the media teleconference with St-Pierre, UFC President Dana White announced that Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will fight for the vacant 170-pound title in the main event of UFC 171 on March 15, 2014, in Dallas, Texas. As for GSP’s decision to take a hiatus from the Octagon, he said, “I agree with Georges a hundred percent. He talked to us and said ‘I’ve got a lot of personal issues I’m dealing with right now, and I can’t even imagine going into another training camp. It will drive me crazy.’ This isn’t baseball or some other sport. This is fighting. You have to be a hundred percent mentally, physically, emotionally. If you’re not, you should sit on the sidelines and wait until you get your stuff cleared up, and I think it’s the right move.”
GSP to Take Break; Hendricks, Lawler to Fight for Title
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to vacate title and take a break from fighting...