mma / Columns

GSP’s Return (Will Probably Not Be Against Fedor)

February 21, 2017 | Posted by Evan Zivin

What the hell, Matt Mitrione?

I was so ready to watch Bellator 172, to see the return of Fedor Emelianenko to this side of the Atlantic, to the very place where the myth of Fedor became a cold and broken reality.

I know I probably shouldn’t be that excited to see Fedor compete at this stage in his life and career, but what can I say? I’m as much a sucker for nostalgia as everyone else. Pride neva die and so on…

But ‘twas not meant to be, as Mitrione, Fedor’s opponent, pulled out of the fight just hours before, with reports citing a kidney stone being the culprit behind the fight’s cancellation.

A kidney stone? That seems like a pretty strange ailment to just suddenly get afflicted with. I wonder what caused it. Could it have been caused by cutting weight? I know he’s a bigger heavyweight but I thought he usually weighed in enough under the 265 lb. limit that he didn’t need to cut anything.

I know. I shouldn’t go there. Kidney stones are no laughing matter. Well, unless it happens to one of your friends. Then it’s hilarious.

It was unfortunate, especially since Fedor was ready to go and there were fighters willing to step up and take on The Last Emperor short notice, including the two men involved in the biggest fight in MMA history…in 2017, Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen. Bellator didn’t entertain either option for very long and decided to call off the fight, with President Scott Coker claiming it wasn’t as simple as just slotting in someone else.

Don’t lie to us, Scott. We know that’s not true. You probably didn’t want to book Chael or Tito as a short notice replacement against Fedor because you’d then be giving away Bellator’s summer plans.

By the way, what’s Ken Shamrock doing right now…?

Also, did anyone else find it amusing that the week Fedor was supposed to make his return turned out to be the same week that Brock Lesnar told UFC he’s retired from MMA…again?

C’mon, Brock. Why are you running from Fedor? He’s ready to fight and you’d rather job to Goldberg, the greatest in-cage MMA interviewer and locker head-butter ever, instead? I hope you can sleep at night with your millions of dollars and your “Suplex City” t-shirt royalties…

Either way, we know that, whenever Fedor does finally fight again, which will hopefully be this summer, we know one name that won’t be in the running for that fight (unfortunately): Georges St-Pierre, who has announced he’s agreed to terms with the UFC and is set to make his long-awaited return this year.

GSP is coming back, y’all! Are you pumped?

I know someone who is pumped by that news: WME-IMG, the owners of the UFC, who are badly in need of draws so that 2017 has the slightest of chances at sniffing the profits that 2016 generated.

It will be pretty amusing to see GSP in a major fight this year, especially after the comments that were made last year during his stalled contract negotiations when Dana White tried to downplay the stupidity of not agreeing to GSP’s terms (i.e. actually paying him what’s he worth for once) by trying to explain the “difficulty” in re-introducing the multiple time UFC Welterweight Champion and one of the greatest fighters of all time to today’s audience.

Yeah, okay. Whatever you say, Dana. I’ll remember that once you announce Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping for the UFC Middleweight Championship this fall.

That appears to be the frontrunner for GSP’s return fight. And honestly? I’m on board with it.

I know that won’t be the popular opinion among us MMA “journalists” *WINK* but, if UFC is looking to make as much money off this whole “Michael Bisping as UFC Champion” thing that’s been ongoing since Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold last June, then that’s the fight to make.

Should Bisping be fighting a relevant contender next instead, like Yoel Romero? Yeah, probably, but do that many people really want to see that fight?

I know Bisping vs. Romero is the fight everyone agrees should come next, but just because it’s the most logical option doesn’t mean it’s the most fun option. Romero is powerful and dominant but he’s also a goofy dude who can’t get out of his own way. Besides, most people assume a Bisping vs. Romero fight is a foregone conclusion anyway.

Then again, the same could probably be said for Bisping vs. GSP but at least it’s a matchup between two interesting personalities worth paying attention to.

Then again again, there’s very little chance of GSP caving Bisping’s face in the way Romero did to Chris Weidman…

The other big possibility for GSP’s return that is being talked about is against Anderson Silva, the superfight that fans have fantasy booked for years. It was the fight that everyone wanted…except GSP, although now he seems like he’d be game and I’d be good with that fight too.

Some people are trying to say there’s no appeal to the matchup anymore but that’s just not true. People said there was no more appeal to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and it still ended up being the biggest Payperview EVER. I don’t expect GSP vs. Silva to perform like that but to think that fight won’t sell, especially with the proper promotion, is underestimating the power of the casual MMA audience combined with the unfulfilled desires of the hardcore MMA audience.

There’s only so many fights that UFC can put GSP in that would capture his interest along with the interest of the fans, although I know one fight he definitely won’t take: one for the UFC Welterweight Championship.

I know that Tyron Woodley has been asking for a fight with GSP and he has said that Georges was interested in the fight but, if Georges agrees to that fight, which I know would make Demian Maia just sooooo happy, it wouldn’t be because he wants to be champion.

I’ve been saying it since GSP left in 2013: if Georges wanted to be Welterweight Champion, he wouldn’t have left, or at least he wouldn’t have left in the manner he did.

No, if GSP wants to fight Woodley, he’d be doing it for the challenge of fighting the man who is considered the best at his weight class right now. Or just to shut Tyron up so he quits complaining that fans don’t like him because he’d rather chase money fights than defend his title against relevant contenders.

There are definitely some interesting options for GSP’s return fight. Maybe a GSP fight would be enough to get Conor McGregor to give up on the Mayweather fight and come home to The Octagon. I hear Papa Dana is getting very worried about him…

Maybe a GSP fight would be enough to convince at least one Diaz brother to take another fight.

Hell, maybe UFC goes ahead and books GSP against Cris Cyborg, who’s just been cleared to resume her fighting career. I mean, she probably walks around at the same weight as him.

UFC has a big decision to make as far as what to do with Georges. There’s a lot of thoughts and opinions floating around out there and it’s going to be impossible to settle on something that’s going to make everyone satisfied.

Well, whatever UFC goes with, I know one thing that will be true: GSP won’t be fighting Fedor, and that makes me sadder than any of you could possibly understand.

Dammit, Meathead! You ruined everything! I guess Chael can’t save every fight, although we all know he’ll always try.

God bless that man. He’s making America great again, one “fight” at a time.


Evan Zivin has been writing for 411 MMA since May of 2013. Evan loves the sport, and likes to takes a lighthearted look at the world of MMA in his writing…usually.