Bisping vs. GSP is official

Thursday, August 10, 2017

UFC welterweight G.O.A.T. Georges St-Pierre’s long, strange trip away from the Octagon appears to be at an end. GSP announced via his social network that he had signed the bout agreement to challenge UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217 on November 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

St-Pierre took a break from the sport in 2013, citing the need to rest. He later expanded that to include concerns about doping in the league, among other points.

On July 1, 2015, the UFC instituted what is believed to be the toughest anti-doping program. For months into years, various members of GSP’s circle said he would be back, but UFC president Dana White maintained that his heart appeared to no longer be in it.

In time negotiations for the return of GSP commenced but apparently broke down over apparel sponsorship. The UFC is wedded to Reebok, and GSP has a deal with UnderArmor. At one point things got so bad St-Pierre reported that he was a free agent, which the UFC firmly denied. By October, UFC president Dana White said the relationship between the two had never been better.

Early this year it was reported that GSP and the UFC had come to terms and on March 1 it was announced that he would be fighting Bisping. Then it May St-Pierre said that due to lingering eye issues, he would be ready to fight after October.

So UFC president Dana White canceled the fight, and announced that as Bisping’s knee had not fully recovered, Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker would be fighting for the Interim title. White further said that GSP would be fighting for the welterweight belt, vs. the winner of champ Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia. Bisping was to fight the winner of the interim belt, which ended up being Whittaker.

However, Woodley underwhelmed the fans and his boss in a careful shutting down of Maia, so White moved GSP back to Bisping. And it is official, at last.

For now.