Hello all BE readers. I want to start off this article by stating two off topic points. One, this is my first fanpost so I hope you enjoy, and that I appreciate any helpful comments/criticism. Two, I am not, and have never been a St. Pierre fan. I have always respected him as mixed martial artist and for his accomplishments in and out of the cage, but I have never been a fan of his fighting technique or demeanor (I will always remain a loyal Fitch fan at welterweight).
It has become quite obvious following St. Pierre's fight following UFC 129, there are a multitude of fans and regular news writers alike on BE that are heaping criticism on Georges for his performance last night. While by no means are any of these people wrong, and of course everyone is entitled to there own opinion, I've been feeling that the bulk of this backlash is unwarranted and very unjustified.
Personally, what I witnessed last night was almost 2 different performances by St. Pierre. Rounds 1 and 2, before the eye injury, and the rest of the fight. As most people felt going into his fight with Jake Shields last night, including myself, there was a lot of fear that St. Pierre would again utilize his jab, wash repeat strategy he employed at UFC 124 against Josh Koscheck. Knowing that fans and media alike were aware of this potential, Georges even promised in pre-fight interviews that he would finish Shields in their fight. In the first 2 rounds of the fight last night, it seemed to me that St. Pierre was trying to live up to his promise. As I don't have any fight metric data to back it up and this only goes on what I saw, it did appear that he was using a lot more fight finishing striking techniques, utilizing short combos to set up big leg kicks or the big overhand right, which did indeed hit Jake a few times and hurt him. I had not been that impressed with Georges performance since his second fight with Penn, and was confident at that point of the fight, and that at the pace he was setting, he would finish Shields as previously declared or eventually beat him into a corner stoppage between rounds like the second Penn fight. But something happened that changed the course of the fight.
Somewhere either late in round 2 or in round 3, St. Pierre sustained an injury to the eye by either a well placed punch or an unintentional eye poke. As I saw and has been noted on many message boards so far in St. Pierre's defense, it was clearly visible between rounds in his corner that he was upset, and that his cornermen were doing there best to calm him down. St. Pierre has always been a non emotional fighter, and that is one of the reasons for his great success. Getting an eye injury would be a very justifiable reason to get emotional and fight sloppy in later rounds of the fight, trying to secure a victory. St. Pierre didn't do that. Realizing he was injured he retreated back into jab from a distance mode. While this is what the most of us feared he would do from the beginning of the fight, he used it as a failsafe play to keep the title from a very dangerous opponent after he was hurt. Anyone who is thinking that in an injured state that St. Pierre should have maintained his previous first 2 round aggressive approach to the fight should really cut him some slack. Yes, it was another decision. Yes, he promised a finish and failed to deliver. And yes, a lot of people probably paid $60 alone for the main event last night. But I have always maintained that for the fighter, their career comes before our wants and desires as fans. Yes, we pay big money and expect spectacular finishes, and have huge emotional investments in our favorite fighters. We want to see them standing on a mountain littered with the bodies of their broken and battered foes. Fortunately for most of us, we don't have to deal with the many results of a five round war. We watch our fights, and then go celebrate or lament with our friends and family an go on with our lives, eagerly anticipating the next set of fights. For fighters though, they DO have to deal with long term affects of the fight, whether it be physical, mental or monetary. It's sad to think that most people expect that St. Pierre should have further risked his already damaged eye and risked his title by continuing to fight in an more risky aggressive approach rather than doing what was best FOR HIM. We should all be congratulating him for his warrior spirit and effort. Despite the broken promise and what felt like a let down after such a MONUMENTAL night of fights (possibly one the best ever in my opinion), I feel that we should be giving St. Pierre's performance the benefit of the doubt based on the situation that occurred last night.
As one final note, I'd like to discuss the eye injury itself. As of now, I have not seen any verification as to what kind of eye injury St. Pierre sustained in the fight, although most of the speculation seems to indicate either a detached retina or a scratched eye. Most people are already aware or the seriousness of a detached retina due to Alan Belchers tragic situation. But some of comments I've seen online seem to indicate an ignorance towards the seriousness of a scratched eye. As I mentioned in one of the post UFC 129 reports comments section, scratches to the eye, as with all eye injuries, are very serious. If not acted upon and treated by a doctor quickly, you can have permanent damage to your eye. I can only speak from my own personal experience. This is what and how it affected me; I was playing with my dog and he's a large guy (100lbs). While playing he accidentally smacked me in the left eye with his paw. I lost vision out of that eye immediately and had to go to the doctor. Under his inspection it appeared as though my dogs nail scratched my eye. Very fortunately for me I didn't lose long term vision in my eye. Unfortunately for me though, I did have to miss work for a bit until I regained my vision. During this time I suffered from migraine like headaches and had to take pain relieving eye drops. Just because an injury doesn't sound serious doesn't mean it is. I was lucky and can only pray for GSP that he is ok and returns to the octagon!