When UFC President Dana White announced he was nixing plans for a Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre middleweight title fight, he apparently did not keep either side of the fight in the loop when making the decision.
St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) told MMAjunkie this past week that he was still holding out hope the fight would occur, because at that time neither White nor anyone at the UFC had informed his team that the 185-pound championship fight was off the table. White said Yoel Romero would be next to fight Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) instead, but the champion has apparently not been informed of that, either.
“It’s news to me,” Bisping said on his weekly “Believe You Me” podcast. “I haven’t heard anything about it. I reached out to Georges, and he said he hasn’t heard anything officially, either, and I still haven’t heard anything from the UFC or Dana White.”
The fight between Bisping and St-Pierre was first announced in March, however, there was no date or location attached to the contest. “Rush” is the former longtime UFC welterweight champion, but after vacating the title in December 2013 and taking an extended hiatus from the sport, he decided to make his comeback at middleweight.
St-Pierre jumped a long line of contenders in the weight class, which includes viable title challengers such as Romero, Robert Whittaker and Gegard Mousasi. It was thought the fight would happen in the summer, but St-Pierre said he wouldn’t be ready until at least October.
White said the promotion is not willing to put the division on ice for that long and opted to change course. Bisping said he understands the frustration but feels he should still get the fight promised to him.
“As of right now (there’s been) no official word from the UFC,” Bisping said. “I haven’t heard anything, and Georges is still hoping for it. I’m still hoping for it. I’ll say this: I was offered the fight twice. I was offered the fight in October and it never materialized. I was offered the fight in January or February, and it did materialize, and we had a press conference and we shook hands and we stood there in Las Vegas and we talked a bit of (expletive). I haven’t had a bout agreement, but that is the plan. That was the offer, and I accepted, and I kind of feel that once a deal is made, we should stick to it.
“Maybe they need an active champion to fight sooner. I think that’s probably the top of it. I honestly don’t think they’re trying to put pressure on Georges. I think they need title fights on the pay-per-views, which I understand. I understand the frustrations from their side, just like a lot of the middleweight division are kind of frustrated. They need good title fights on their pay-per-views and waiting until November is a significant delay, so I understand that. But like I said, we did have a deal, so I’d like to speak with the UFC and find out what’s happening.”
Although Bisping has shown impatience with St-Pierre’s timeframe in the past (even threatening to rescind his crack at the gold), he has changed his tune now that the fight appears in real jeopardy. “The Count” said his knee is still in bad shape from a surgery earlier this year and he wouldn’t be able to jump into a fight camp for the summer, anyway.
Whether Bisping’s inability to fight will be enough to persuade White to reinstate the fight remains to be seen. However, Bisping said he’s still operating under the assumption his next fight will be against St-Pierre until specifically told otherwise.
“It’s a blessing in disguise because I can’t fight anytime soon,” Bisping said. “I can’t exercise. I can’t train. My knee is giving me many, many problems. … What I’m getting at is I’m not going to be ready to fight anytime soon so again, that’s another reason why this plays into the perfect scenario for me.
“I’ve got a fight booked, and until I hear anything differently from an official source, I’m expecting to fight ‘GSP.'”
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