After a press conference in New York, Lorenzo Fertitta conducted an interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani and went in-depth into the situation surrounding welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. GSP's UFC 167 post-fight speech and subsequent statements at the post-fight press conference sent shock waves through the MMA community, and many have taken umbrage with how UFC president Dana White has handled the situation. Fertitta defended White, but also addressed the situation in his own way:
I think Dana was misunderstood and think hopefully he's trying to clarify that. GSP doesn't owe us anything. If he chooses to retire, the so be it, he'll retire and become someone that people will always look up to as one of the great champions in the UFC. If he decides to fight again, then great. I think where the confusion was...Georges never communicated anything to us prior to the fight relative to that he may be making an announcement. In fact, I think Dana said that he had talked to him and he said 'no no no, everything's fine'.
And then after the fight, the announcement he made was very vague. And I think what Dana was trying to say was that - either you're retired or you're not, right? We can't just put the UFC belt on the shelf for an undefined period, basically put it in limbo forever, because that's not fair to the contenders that have been working their whole lifetime to get the opportunity to get the belt. It's not fair to the fans to have the title sit on the side for too long. And it's not fair to us as a company because we wouldn't be able to plan. I think that's what the message was meant to be, but I think unfortunately the press took it in a different way.
Georges doesn't owe us anything. Just, what I think he does owe us is - clarify what you're doing, right? Just let us know so we can plan.
On whether he thinks GSP will fight again:
I spent a good deal of time with Georges after the fight in the so-called private meeting we had with Dana. Never once did we talk about him fighting again, never once did we talk about him retiring. It was all just talking about what was going on with Georges. At the end of the day I didn't get any sense that he didn't want to fight again. He didn't talk about not wanting to fight again, or that he was tired, or anything like that. I got the sense that, he's going on vacation, he's going to get some rest, and he's going to wake up very soon and get that fire again to say 'You know what, I want to go out and fight'.
When asked exactly what GSP's personal problems are and was reminded of the rumors running rampant, Fertitta looked at it in a broader sense and believes GSP will be okay:
There's a lot of rumors. Look, we talked about a lot of different things. In some ways, it's interesting because when we bought this business, nobody knew who the fighters were. It was almost like an underground sport in a lot of ways. They could walk down the street here in New York City and eat in a restaurant and nobody would know them. There is a sense of celebrity that is now involved, and along with that celebrity, particularly when you carry a country, there's pressure that's associated with it. I think it's tough to be Georges St-Pierre some days. You know what I mean? There's a lot of pressure that goes along with it, but he's a consummate professional and he handles it great. He always lives up to anything we've ever asked him to do and he always performs in the octagon in the bright lights. So I think it's just a moment in time, and I think he's going to be fine.
St-Pierre is on vacation following his close split-decision win over Johny Hendricks, and it still remains unclear when a possible rematch could take place.