In the midst of rumors that were circulating about his career, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre announced that he will step away from MMA and vacate the title that he's held for the last five years. During a conference call on December 13th, 2013 the long reigning champion told media members that he needed to get away from the sport to focus on his personal life.
“My life is a frickin' zoo right now,” St. Pierre said during his announcement before taking questions.
While he did not go into the details behind the personal issues that he is having, he mentioned that they were enough to hamper his focus if he was to go into another training camp. “Rush” didn't mention when or if he would return to the sport but he did leave that window open if he decided to make a comeback. However, as he stated, he did not want to hold the division up while they waited for him.
UFC President Dana White was also on the call and fully supported St. Pierre's decision to step away from the sport. In light of the announcement he revealed that Johny Hendricks, who St. Pierre defeated in a controversial fashion last month, will face off against Robbie Lawler for the vacated title on March 15th at a yet to be named event in Dallas, Texas. The UFC currently has Hendricks ranked in the number one contender's spot while Lawler is in the 3rd position. Second ranked Carlos Condit is also planned to be on this card but White has yet to shore up his opponent for the event.
St. Pierre has been one of the UFC's longest reigning champions and highest PPV draws since his emergence back in 2004. With 22 total fights in the Octagon he has put together a 20-2 record while under Zuffa employment. His excellence in the cage has led to him obtaining other business ventures outside competition which include a major sponsorship with Under Armour and appearing in next year's Captain America: The Winter Solider.
While Georges St. Pierre never mentioned the world retirement, he joins a very short list of fighters who left the sport and vacated a UFC title.