After weeks of speculation, Georges St-Pierre has officially vacated the UFC middleweight title. The news itself isn’t much of a surprise, although the speed at which the UFC went about pushing through the decision may raise some eyebrows. The fight organization announced the decision in a press release for UFC 221, burying the GSP news under the headline ‘Whittaker Vs. Rockhold Set For UFC 221 Main Event.’
“My fight at UFC 217 was one of the greatest nights of my life but I now need to take some time to focus on my health,” GSP stated in the press release. “Out of respect to the athletes and the sport, I don’t want to hold up the division. I will be giving up my belt and once I’m healthy I look forward to working with the UFC to determine what’s next in my career.”
St-Pierre recently revealed that he’s suffering from colitis, an inflammation of the colon that may have been triggered by his attempt to pack on the pounds for his middleweight debut. Speaking to SportsCenter, Georges revealed he was pooping blood leading up to his UFC 217 fight with Michael Bisping, which obviously is a bad thing even when you’re not about to go to war in the freakin’ Octagon. There’s no clear indication of when he may come back, but we expect he’ll return to his natural weight of 170 when he does return.
The move freed up the UFC to upgrade Australian kickboxer Robert Whittaker’s interim middleweight belt to the real deal. He’ll now defend it against former 185 pound champ Luke Rockhold in Perth at UFC 221 on February 11. Tickets go on sale next Friday, December 15, and we’re sure that had a part to play in the UFC’s pressuring of St-Pierre to make a decision.