Sources: St-Pierre On Verge Of Returning To UFC, Could Provide Boost To WME-IMG
MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre is on the "verge of signing a new multi-fight contract" with the UFC, according to sources cited by Ariel Helwani of MMA FIGHTING. While St-Pierre's return fight has "yet to be finalized, the current plan is for him to compete later this year." Sources said that a return in Q3 of '17 is "currently being targeted." UFC officials "declined to comment on the impending deal," though, UFC President Dana White, and others, have "dropped some clues as of late." Both the UFC and St-Pierre have yet to "decide which division he'll compete in upon returning." St-Pierre's return will "provide a much-needed shot in the arm" for WME-IMG. With Conor McGregor currently "pursuing a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Ronda Rousey's uncertain future, Brock Lesnar's retirement and Jon Jones' suspension, the organization needs a star like St-Pierre now more than ever." The new deal will "put an end to a three-year saga between the UFC and St-Pierre that dates back to UFC 167" in November '13 (MMAFIGHTING.com, 2/15). In Vancouver, E. Spencer Kyte notes St-Pierre last fall "declared himself a free agent" and joined fellow fighters in "launching the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association." While he "petitioned to be added to the UFC 206 fight card in Toronto, the two sides couldn’t come to a deal" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/16).
FIGHT CLUB: In N.Y., Kenneth Lovett wrote MMA has been a "knockout so far in New York." A new analysis commissioned by the UFC found that UFC 205 at MSG, the first professional MMA event in the city, "far exceeded economic projections." Another event was "held recently in Albany, and one is scheduled for Buffalo on April 8" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/13).