UFC 167 Review
By Mike Fagan, November 19th, 2013
Georges St-Pierre: Listen everyone, there was a lot of talk about what’s going to happen. I have a bunch of stuff in my life happening. I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit, at least, make a point on my life. Hope my fan appreciate. Thank you to everyone, the UFC, Johny Hendricks. And…man..uh…
Joe Rogan: Are you retiring right now. Is that what you’re saying?
St-Pierre: I have to go away for a little bit, at least. I wanna- personal things happening. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the UFC, who gave me the chance. Everyone for their support. Thank you very much.
* * *
Dana White: You don’t just say ‘Hey. I’m going to take a while off and maybe I’ll be back, maybe I won’t.’ You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company, and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again. Unless you’re going to retire.
* * *
St-Pierre: I can’t sleep at night now. I’m going crazy. I have issues. I need to relax. I need to get out for a while. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
* * *
White: As far as a rematch, we’re on schedule and I’ll have a date within a couple weeks. I feel confident that Georges is fine with that and all is on track.
UFC 167 ended with enough controversy. Two of the three judges assigned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission scored the bout for 48-47 for champion Georges St-Pierre (well, one was for some guy named “Pierre,” according to ring announcer Bruce Buffer) – a defensible score given a close first round, though challenger Johny Hendricks pitched a shut out with the 16 media members tracked by MMADecisions.com. Fans overloaded both MMADecisions.com and FightMetric.com’s servers, as has become the norm following controversial decisions in high-profile fights.
Then, during the post-fight interview, a visibly rattled St-Pierre rambled to Joe Rogan about personal issues; his appreciation of the fans, the UFC, and Hendricks; and taking time off. The pro wrestling fans watching figured St-Pierre “lost his smile.” Rogan – as he is wont to do in these situations – pressed St-Pierre on the retirement issue, but the champion wouldn’t bite and reiterated what he just said.
About an hour later, a livid Dana White ranted form his podium at the post-fight press conference about the decision, Nevada’s commission, and St-Pierre’s comments. St-Pierre, according to White, has enough money to retire, but he laid down an ultimatum: retire or give me my rematch. Hendricks showed up shortly after, still emotional over the decision, but handling the loss as well as he could. St-Pierre eventually appeared, his face marked up like a raccoon. He dodged questions about his personal issues, though he revealed that he was “going crazy” and “can’t sleep at night.” White’s mood softened, protecting his champ from further inquiries on the personal stuff and calling the presser to a close shortly thereafter.
When White emerged later following a talk with St-Pierre, he said his champion’s problems were “no big deal” and he expected a rematch in a timely fashion. The internet exploded. How could White press St-Pierre on a rematch given his performance, his post-fight demeanor, his not remember some sections of the fight, his blurred vision in his eye, his not sleeping, his going crazy? On Sunday, TMZ reported that not only had St-Pierre knocked a girl up, but his father was dying. White’s comments appeared even more callous.
But now, on the Tuesday following the fight, the dust has settled a bit. St-Pierre still hasn’t spoken publicly on his issues, though he denies (via White) the TMZ report. (St-Pierre’s sister also claims their father is in fine health.) St-Pierre’s ex-manager Stephane Paltry spoke to a Canadian sports radio station of a lawsuit between his ex-client/current friend and Shari Spencer, who took over St-Pierre’s management from Paltry and is apparently suing him for “several million dollars.” Occam’s razor suggests that a serious lawsuit cited by a friend of St-Pierre’s in a public forum is more likely the explanation than a gossip site (even one that has proven accurate in cases like this) reporting a dual tale of family crises from anonymous sources.
That exonerates White for his scrum comments. As callous as he can be, it’s hard to imagine him brushing off a dying father as “no big deal.” But White’s earlier comments still earn him his scarlet letter “A” for “asshole.” St-Pierre owes the fans, the sport, the UFC, or White nothing. He’s earned the right to take some time off, whether it’s for physical health or mental health or if he wants to hang out on an island somewhere with a month’s supply of Big Macs and women.
-Hendricks won the fight, but this was no robbery. According to FightMetric, St-Pierre edged Hendricks in Significant Strikes 19-18, Hendricks edged St-Pierre in Total Strikes 27-26, they each traded a takedown, and FightMetric credited St-Pierre with a guillotine attempt. You can/should argue that Hendricks landed the more effective strikes, but it’s hard to get up in arms over a decision that hinged on a round that close. (Disclosure: I’ve yet to rewatch the bout.)
-Hendricks needs to take a long look in the mirror, however. Given the stakes and the state of judging in the sport, he should not have assumed a 3-1 lead heading into the fifth round. He took the round off, which, unfortunately for him, handed St-Pierre the fight. It’s even more baffling when you consider that St-Pierre hasn’t finished an opponent since 2009, and you have to go back to 2007 to find a St-Pierre finish forcing a referee to step in. Hendricks had little to worry about, and essentially threw the fight away.
-Had the judges turned in another verdict, there’d be a lot more talk about St-Pierre’s slip in the fourth round. Instead, it’ll go down as little more than a foot note (pun intended), much like the obstruction call to end Game 3 of this year’s World Series.
-It’s been a long time since Rashad Evans has looked as good as he did Saturday, needing only four minutes to run over Chael Sonnen. The UFC could slot him in against Alexander Gustafsson had they been more patient with the latter’s matchmaking. Instead, Evans’ finds himself in a weird spot near the top of the rankings with no great options available to him. Sonnen, of course, moves on to coach The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil and conclude his blood feud with Wanderlei Silva.
-It’s too early to declare Rory MacDonald’s title hopes dead, but it may be prudent to pack up the “Georges St-Pierre successor” talk and store it in the attic. MacDonald sludged through the first two rounds before Robbie Lawler beat him up in the third. It was reminiscent of MacDonald’s third round against Carlos Condit three years ago. Lawler, meanwhile, finds himself in the unlikely position of angling for the title.
Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at FightFansRadio.com, also available as a podcast via iTunes.