Georges St-Pierre may be waging the toughest fight of his life but UFC fans won't see it. In fact, they may never see the 32-year-old UFC superstar in the octagon again. Citing his desire to have a "normal life," the reigning UFC welterweight champion announced on Friday that he will be taking an indefinite break from fighting and vacating his title.
“I’ve been fighting a very long time at a high level, and it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism, and I decided that I need to take time off,” St-Pierre told reporters during a teleconference, via UFC.com. “I know the UFC’s a business, and it can’t wait on me. They have to keep things rolling, so I’ve vacated my title for the respect of the other competitors, and one day, when I feel like it, I may come back. But right now, I need a break.”
Although St-Pierre declined to go into detail about his personal life while fielding questions from reporters, he revealed that problems away from the octagon played a part in his decision to stop fighting.
"My life is a frickin' zoo right now," St-Pierre said, via ESPN.com.
CLICK HERE to listen to GSP teleconference
Speculation about the Canadian's future has been rampant since he defeated Johny Hendricks in a controversial split decision at UFC 167 in November. Referring to undisclosed personal problems, a bruised and battered GSP hinted that the end could be near after his tenth title defense since 2008.
"I have a bunch of stuff in my life happening," St-Pierre told UFC analyst Joe Rogan after the Hendricks bout, via Sports Illustrated. "I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit."
Speaking during the teleconference on Friday, UFC president Dana White supported St-Pierre's decision. White also announced that Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will fight for the vacant title at UFC 171.
“I agree with Georges a hundred percent," White said. "He talked to us and said ‘I’ve got a lot of personal issues I’m dealing with right now, and I can’t even imagine going into another training camp. It will drive me crazy.’ This isn’t baseball or some other sport. This is fighting. You have to be a hundred percent mentally, physically, emotionally. If you’re not, you should sit on the sidelines and wait until you get your stuff cleared up, and I think it’s the right move.”
Following his media teleconference, St-Pierre made an appearance at a shopping mall in Quebec City and further addressed his decision.
"Because I'm completely obsessed about my work, I didn't allow myself to have a normal life," St-Pierre said during the shopping mall appearance. "And right now it's been too long that I've been living like this and I need a break if I want to keep mental stability before it's too late. I need a break and one day if I want to come back and I feel like it I will. But right now I need a break."