Update: Georges St-Pierre Takes Leave of Absence, Gives up Welterweight Belt

Frank Doyle | Fri. Dec 13 2013, 02:12 pm

After weeks of speculation, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre announced his indefinite leave of absence and will give up his belt to an interim champion.

St-Pierre and UFC president are scheduled to have a conference call with the media around 2 p.m. today, but RDS.ca says the welterweight champ has decided to step away from the sport, at least for now. GSP is scheduled to meet with fans at a mall opening in Quebec City following the conference call.

St. Pierre won a controversial split decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 and spoke at length about needing to “take some time” following the bout to deal with some personal issues. That didn’t sit well with UFC president Dana White, who felt that Hendricks deserved to win that title fight, not GSP. White maintains that if St-Pierre wasn’t ready to give Hendricks a rematch and wanted an extended leave, the champ should give up his belt. St-Pierre just spent more than a year on the sidelines rehabbing a torn ACL, so White doesn’t feel like another extended hiatus is fair for the rest of the welterweight contenders.

Still, White has taken a ton of heat for the way he handled the UFC post-fight press conference, with many of GSP’s supporters saying the champ doesn’t owe White or the UFC anything at this point.

“There’s no doubt I had a bit of a meltdown at the last press conference,” White told Sportsnet 360 this week, “but who’s said more positive things about Georges St-Pierre in the last 13 years than me?”

White went on to say that St-Pierre never mentioned the word “retirement” to him. Then on Thursday, the UFC announced that White and St-Pierre would hold a conference call with the press to announce what GSP had decided about his future in the octagon.

Before that could happen, news of St-Pierre’s decision was popping up on social media networks.