Last week, all-time great, former two-time welterweight world champion Georges St-Pierre decided to come out in favor of a new fighter's association which promises to fight for higher wages and better benefits for UFC fighters. St-Pierre's criticism of the UFC calls for athletes to band together to demand better terms, and was a marked change for "Rush."
Throughout his legendary career, St-Pierre was largely careful to stay away from controversy. Now, he's running towards it, attempting to lead a movement.
His longtime friend and coach Firas Zahabi told the Extra Rounds podcast that this new, public Georges is the private one he's always known. "Yeah, absolutely. The thing is with Georges, he was so focused on his career with fighting that he couldn't get involved with politics, but it's not that he doesn't have an opinion," he explained (below).
"He has a strong opinion on what should be, but he picks his battles. He's wise. He's not the kind of guy that's going to fight 10 battles at once. He's a smart man."
St-Pierre has expressed his intention to return to competition, but has yet to come to terms with the UFC, and declared that he's a free-agent. The UFC disagrees, and the issue may end up in arbitration or court rooms.
For now, however, St-Pierre does not have a fighting home, so Zahabi says that the TriStar gym athlete is free to devote time to helping others. "So, now that he's got more time and he's able to give that time to this issue, he's going to do it," he continued.
"But, you know, if tomorrow he starts fighting, again, he's going to put that as priority number one. Georges is a very focused guy. When he does something, he does it well. He doesn't want to do it half-way."
In all, Zahabi wasn't surprised that St-Pierre decided to remodel himself as a labor leader, or that UFC fighter rights are finally becoming a more openly discussed topic. "It was something I was told about long before. I wasn't surprised, no," he ended.
"A lot of people, they want to make more money. People feel fundamentally underpaid, and the voices are getting louder and louder, people are grumbling more and more. It was a matter of time, I imagine."