GSP vacates Middleweight title allowing Whittaker-Rockhold fight for title

December 7, 2017

Georges St Pierre has stepped aside and relinquished the UFC middleweight title after winning it last month in New York.  The UFC announced the news in conjunction with the main event set for UFC 221 in Perth, Australia between Robert Whittaker and Luke Rockhold this February.

GSP becomes the first UFC fighter to vacate two UFC titles.  He gave up the welterweight belt after he took a leave of absence from the company following his fight against Johny Hendricks in November 2013.

Whittaker earned the interim title in July when he defeated Yoel Romero in the main event of UFC 213.  Rockhold, a former title holder, dropped the belt to Michael Bisping in June 2016.  He returned to the Octagon in September 2017 and defeated David Branch.

Payout Perspective:

The optics of GSP decision does not look good for either the UFC or St Pierre although its best for business.  The Bisping fight served as nothing more as a handpicked fight for GSP to “ease” back into the UFC without the need to cut down to 170 in his first fight back.  But, with winning the belt, he saw no easy road in defending the belt with the likes of Whittaker, Rockhold, Romero and Weidman waiting for a title shot.  With the UFC lobbying against the Ali Act Expansion, this matchmaking is what proponents of the bill are seeking to stop.  A fight made without care for the rankings.  There’s no real reason for making GSP-Bisping aside from GSP wanting the fight and the UFC needing a huge draw to attract PPV ratings for its New York event.

With its debut in Perth, the company gets a very good main event with the local fighter Whittaker taking on the former champ.

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