Georges St-Pierre announced on Monday that he was now a free agent. Several hours later, UFC officials issued a statement to MMAWeekly.com rebuking his claim, implying it intended to enforce its contract as his exclusive MMA promoter.
St-Pierre's attorney, James Quinn, doubled down on Tuesday, telling ESPN that, despite the UFC's rebuttal, their stance had not changed.
“Our position is the contract is terminated,” Quinn told ESPN's Brett Okamoto. “I suppose they could take legal steps against that or they could offer a new contract. They have a variety of options on their side.”
St-Pierre explained that his team had been in negotiation with the UFC, primarily with former owner Lorenzo Fertitta, since February. Despite some ups and down, they felt that the negotiation had gotten close to a resolution before the UFC was sold to new ownership, who allegedly scrapped the Fertitta forged contract.
Without a fight in sight, St-Pierre's team gave the UFC a 10-day “legal deadline” to formally offer him a fight, which it failed to do. Whether it is within St-Pierre's right to issue such a deadline is unclear, but such a matter would likely be settled if the case proceeds through the legal system.
The UFC hasn't been shy about using legal means to settle disputes over the years, and implied as much on Monday, telling MMAWeekly.com, “Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC, as his MMA promoter. Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St-Pierre do the same.”
After announcing his belief that he was now a free agent on Monday's The MMA Hour, St-Pierre discussed his disappointment over the current status of his contract, unclear what would come next.
“I’m not as optimistic as I was before,” he said. “I’m sorry to tell my fans, only the future can tell what will happen. I need to take a little break.”
Quinn, however, told ESPN that his client fully intends to fight again. However, Despite their dispute with the UFC, he wouldn't rule out the possibility that St-Pierre could return to the Octagon. As St-Pierre said on Monday, he's entering unknown territory.
“Georges wants to fight,” Quinn said. “He's not ruling out the UFC. He just believes, at this stage, they had long enough under the old contract. Now he'll either fight for the UFC or somewhere else, but he's going to fight.”