Georges St-Pierre is one of the most decorated champions in mixed martial arts history. Instead of having a room full of his UFC titles though, the all-time great just gives away all the belts that he wins as a thank you to those close to him. His successful return to become a two-division champion was no exception, and he gave his new middleweight belt to his long time wrestling coach.
St-Pierre explained this practice during an appearance at the New York Stock Exchange.
“Every belt that I’ve won from the beginning, I always gave it to someone that was there to help me through my career,” St-Pierre said. “My first belt, I gave it to my mother, because my mother was the one that was most important to me. Then I gave it to Firas, then I gave it to John (Danaher), I gave it to different people who was there from the beginning.”
The 36-year-old has won 13 title bouts in the UFC to date, but as St-Pierre notes, the promotion eventually discontinued giving him new belts during his long reign at 170 lbs.
“After a while, at welterweight, they stopped giving me the belt, so I couldn’t give it away,” he said. “Now that I won a new belt, they gave me the middleweight belt, so I gave it to Victor Zilberman, who was my wrestling coach for more than 15 years.
“When I gave him the belt — he was a former USSR wrestler — and I think that was the first time I saw him smile ever, so it made me very happy.”
St-Pierre states that while belts are “nice,” it was never really about that for him.
“The reason why I came back isn’t because I needed the money. I wanted to comeback because I know I was in my prime and I knew I wanted to make history,” he said. “I did it not necessarily because of the belt. I did it for my legacy.
“I did it to be able to cherish a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The belt, it’s a symbol,” he explains. “It’s nice, it represents hard work and dedication, but it could be stolen, it could be destroyed. The memory that I keep of that, what I’ve done (at UFC 217), it’s never going to be taken away from me.
“It will be something that I keep for the rest of my life. Maybe one day, maybe my life I will go through something negative, I will be able to sit back and think back about that moment. It will make me smile,” he said. “That’s what it is, and what people don’t understand. I do this to live a moment.”