At the beginning of the month, UFC president Dana White announced on SportsCenter that Georges St-Pierre’s first fight back after a hiatus of more than three years will be against the promotion’s middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
White, however, did not reveal a date or venue for the fight at that time. Nor was that information revealed at a press conference featuring the two fighters a few days later in Las Vegas. Those details, said White, had yet to be finalized.
Dana did reveal a target date at the presser, though.
“We’re hoping and aiming for this (fight to happen) probably in July. In a perfect world, I would love to see this fight happen on International Fight Week,” he said(via MMAWeeklyNews).
This suggested that UFC 213, which is scheduled for July 8th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is the central attraction of this year’s International Fight Week, might be headlined by the marquee middleweight scrap.
However, as the days passed, members of the media began to say that a date in the late summer or even the autumn seemed more likely. This forecast was later backed up by St-Pierre, who stated, rather vaguely, during a recent appearance on UFC Unfiltered that he expected the fight to take place some time “after the summer”(via Yahoo! Sports).
All of this has not been sitting well with Bisping.
The Englishman scooped the middleweight crown last June by scoring a huge upset win over Luke Rockhold and he made a successful defence a little over four months later, earning a unanimous decision win against old foe Dan Henderson in Manchester. But that fight was almost six months ago and, despite recently undergoing knee surgery, Bisping is already getting the itch – one that he doesn’t want to wait until the fall to scratch.
During a recent episode of his podcast, ‘Believe You Me’, ‘The Count’ said that he doesn’t want to wait for St-Pierre if it means that he will have been inactive for almost a year by the time he steps inside the octagon with the great Canadian. Bisping added that if ‘GSP’ isn’t willing to throw down during the summer, he might just have to fight somebody that he knows is more than willing instead.
“So, long story short it looks as if GSP is trying to push for a later date (then July 8),” said the 38-year-old champion. “I have heard rumors of that a while ago from Ariel Helwani. I heard that he wanted like September or October and that is what the UFC told me as well(Transcript via BJPenn.com).”
“But I am just throwing it out there right now. If he (GSP) wants to wait until September or October, then he can go find himself another opponent. Because I call the shots.
“Without sounding like an asshole, it is my belt. I am the champion, and I am not willing to sit around until September or October. This fight was discussed in January. You know a fight camp only takes 8 weeks. Or six weeks. So fighting in September or October is ridiculous. July 8 is the date. I may be a little bit flexible and be willing to go a little past that date if needed. But I want to fight international fight week July 8. So Georges St-Pierre, get it together. Stop doing your f*cking gymnastics. Stop doing your backflips and whatever it is. Let’s do this buddy. Sign the paper work. You want it. You sat there at the press conference. You talked big. So sign the god damn paperwork. It is as simple as that!
“If he’s not ready then I guess Yoel Romero gets his title shot! Listen I am not afraid of Yoel Romero. If GSP wants to fight then of course, there is a great storyline there. The fight would do great business. But I am not willing to sit around and he’s not calling the shots. I am the champ.”
With his vicious knockout victory over former 185-pound titlist Chris Weidman in November of last year, Romero established himself as the number one contender to Bisping’s belt. The aforementioned Dana White subsequently assured fans and the MMA media that the Cuban would indeed get the next shot at the title, but a big money fight between Bisping and St-Pierre was eventually given precedence, much to disgust of those who feel that the UFC should be a meritocracy.
However, if Bisping’s threats are serious, the fighter whose recent achievements make him the most deserving challenger may get the shot after all.
“I am not willing to wait a year for Georges St-Pierre to fight me,” Bisping said. “I might as well do two fights in that one year and still make the same money.”
You can listen to the relevant segment below…