Georges St-Pierre: UFC didn’t want me to become a free agent
That’s just one of the revelations made by the former UFC double champion in a stunning first-person piece titled “The UFC Won’t Pay You Fairly Unless You Make Them” for Wealthsimple Magazine. In it, St-Pierre reveals what his financial position was like while competing for the world’s most prestigious MMA organization.
St-Pierre didn’t start generating what would be considered huge money for a mixed martial artist until 2008. After defeating Matt Serra by second-round TKO, he became the undisputed UFC champion, and his fame was rising. His UFC contract was also about to expire after only two more fights.
“I took a big gamble on myself and told UFC I was not going to re-sign with them.”
St-Pierre expected to be in high demand if he became a free agent. As a result, he and his staff took appropriate action.
“Like a poker bluff, we said, ‘We don’t want to re-sign before the fight – we want to just finish the contract,’” St-Pierre wrote. “We took a big risk. Because it’s like a stock market. Your stock might go up if you’re successful, but it can also go down if you lose. But that’s what we decided to do. I always believed in myself, so we took the big risk.
“So after I won the championship in 2008, I took a big gamble on myself and told UFC I was not going to re-sign with them. And then, the day before my fight with Jon Fitch, the UFC came back with a big, crazy contract because they didn’t want me to become a free agent. You read I made $400,000 a match? No. I made a lot more than that. A lot more than that. Millions. When I was at the peak of my career, I was making many millions of dollars.”
Walked away from the sport “disgusted with the performance-enhancing drug problem in the UFC”
After beating the #1 contender Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, GSP walked away from the sport as he felt disgusted with the PED abuse amongst the fighters within the organization.
“I saw the organization sometimes wanted to protect their athletes instead of going for the truth,” he added.
When he returned in November 2017 to defeat Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight belt, St-Pierre said he earned “about $10 million” for the fight. A month later, St-Pierre resigned the belt, citing a stomach problem. He announced his retirement from MMA in February 2019 and has subsequently found success as an actor and in other activities.
“I’m very lucky and very privileged that I finished on top,” St-Pierre wrote. “The reality is most fighters finish broke and broken. They hang there too long. They get brain damage. They go broke. I’m very healthy, and I’m wealthy. It’s very rare to find someone that hangs up his gloves and finishes on top like this.”