Wednesday, October 19, 2016

First, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre came on The MMA Hour and said his attorney had told him he was a free agent, as the UFC had not properly met a deadline for a fight offer.

Then the UFC said ‘oh no you’re not.

Now Brett Okamoto for ESPN spoke with GSP’s attorney, Jim Quinn of New York firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, who said, in sum, ‘oh yes he is.’

“Our position is the contract is terminated,” said Quinn. “I suppose they could take legal steps against that or they could offer a new contract. They have a variety of options on their side.”

Quinn is correct is assuming the UFC could take legal steps, but the second part of his sentence is what the case is all about – it is just a step in a contract negotiation. GSP signed his contract with the UFC in 2011. In 2014 the unfortunate Reebok Deal was signed. GSP is an Under Armour representative. That has to get worked out.

And it was getting worked out. GSP reported that a deal was close, but then WME-IMG acquired the UFC and all deals were stuck in the refrigerator. Even Quebecois, used to the cold, don’t like being in the refrigerator. So GSP got a mean attorney from Wail, Gutshot and Mangle. The mean attorney set a firm date for a bout agreement, with a 10-day deadline. The UFC responded with a letter referencing a fight with Lawler, who GSP thought was maybe not ready to fight, but apparently is.

“The UFC waited until the 11th-and-a-half hour to come back with bare bones information, that floated one fighter and nothing else,” said Hochstadt. “No specifics at all in terms of fight date, venue, number of rounds. All we got, at the 11th hour, was a proposal for somebody. And as Georges said, we don’t know if he ready and able to fight. All we know is he just pulled out of a fight.

“We were working through all the issues in play and had been squaring them away. One of them, no surprise, was the UFC has a Reebok deal that came in long after Georges’ contract. We were working through those things, but ultimately, you’ve got to schedule a fight for your fighter. The UFC knows how to schedule fights. This is what they do every day. Send a bout agreement with all the specifics. They didn’t do that here. Why they chose not to do that, I don’t know.”

“Georges wants to fight. He’s not ruling out the UFC. He just believes, at this stage, they had long enough under the old contract. Now he’ll either fight for the UFC or somewhere else, but he’s going to fight.”

GSP clearly wants to fight in the UFC. The UFC clearly wants GSP to fight on PPV. The fans clearly are willing to pay $60 to plunk their ass in a seat.

A deal was close and then the UFC sold; that was a deal not of a once in a lifetime magnitude, but a once in an ever magnitude. It is sold. So hopefully in the world’s largest talent agency and the world’s leading fight promotion there is someone who can come to terms with GSP without expensive lawyers doing their expensive thing.