[buzzsprout episode='137574' player='true']
Raf's Recollection |If you know me you know I'm willing to speak at great length about the sport of MMA. But it turns out, not everyone is as fanatical about the sport as we are (shocking, I know). So while I often cherish opportunities to talk shop with co-workers, I also have to do my best to monitor when I talk about it a little too much (it happens).
Which is why I was more than a little surprised that during a recent lunch with a colleague here at NBC, we somehow got around to the topic of the UFC (I didn't bring it up this time, promise). More specifically, about the retirement of Georges St. Pierre.
Of course, I was talking to a Canadian.
Did I mention that? That's apparently a thing over there.
Last week, in one overtly long (and ridiculously clunky) press conference, GSP announced his hiatus from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. And only days after that press conference, here I was sharing the same kind of bummed out conversation about potentially never seeing GSP fight in an octagon again with a guy who would describe himself as a casual fan at best.
Perhaps it was just his Canadian-ness or extreme politeness (again, Canadian-ness), but it was very refreshing to see the riptide of the announcement extended further than rabid fans of the sport like you and me. Obviously, I asked if the flags in his homeland were set to half-mast in honor of the announcement (he didn't exactly say "no" about that).
Still, it was a nice surprise to find a real life extension to the conversation happening all over the MMA social media-sphere (I just made that up).
Gone were the jokes about finishing fights, talks about ducking super fights or even that whole weird multiple drug testing fiasco.
No, for a day, it meant both the casual and rabid UFC fan had to seriously think of what the sport of MMA would look like without GSP. The same guy oft-criticized for taking matches to a ("boring") decision and who mucked up the Welterweight division was now suddenly missed for some reason. It's almost as if he was some kind of dominant superstar or something.
Despite a reluctance to explicitly associate the word "retirement" to this particular case (GSP heavily refrained from using it and mentioned the possibility of coming back in the near future), the out pour of support for GSP has been truly been exceptional to read.
We've had (and will continue to have fun) at the expense of GSP here at the show, but we've always respected the guy. There are few people who have left the impression that the enigmatic French Canadian has in the UFC. Over the years, GSP has handled himself as a true professional, gentleman, and, most of all, martial artist, and should be commended accordingly.
I, for one, am not quite convinced we've seen the last of GSP in the octagon, but if UFC 168 was truly the last time, we wish nothing but the best for the champ and thank him for his years of great fights and sportsmanship.
Fans know that championships come and go, but dignified champions who share their love of sport through honor and conduct are all too rare.
Just remember all that when you hear us re-create the whole 45 minute press conference into a digestible 7 minute appetizer on the podcast.
We kid, but it's all outta love GSP.
But Wait There's More
Not only do we talk about UFC on FOX 9 (and how little Kev remembers of it), but I also mention how much I hate being sick when I want to train.
Am I right here, people?
Few things are worse than wanting to go to jiu-jitsu, but not wanting to get everyone sick. We talk a little bit about how much that pisses me off and then spend the rest of our time discussing what GSP's departure means for the rest of the Welterweight division (note: we recorded this one before they announced what effed up thing they're doing to Carlos Condit, but we're gonna talk about that on next week's podcast).
So give a listen and let us know what you think, pals.