Georges St-Pierre was negotiating with the UFC for several months, without much progress. When it didn’t seem like that the former champion would get a return fight anytime soon, reports came out late last week that both parties have suddenly finalized the terms for a new deal.
So what changed, and how did they finally end up with this new contract? Apparently Freddie Roach was a huge catalyst to making it happen.
“Let me see if I can help you,” Roach told St-Pierre after learning about his situation.
The legendary boxing coach has built a lot of connections through the years, and has known new UFC owner Ari Emanuel for decades. With this network, he decided to contact agent Nick Khan of CAA to meet GSP and help with negotiations.
“We started a couple of months ago,” Roach said on the MMA Hour. “We met with Georges, and I introduced him to Nick. We all worked on the game plan together, and it worked out very well.
“We weren't looking to steal anyone away from anybody,” he said. “We just wanted to make the best deal we could for Georges. I do train him quite a bit, and he is a great guy. He needed some help, and that’s what we did.”
Dana White, who has roots from boxing, holds a lot of respect for Freddie Roach. While GSP’s original team hit a road block in negotiations, it only took two meetings with Roach and Khan to finalize a new deal for St-Pierre.
“Georges was a little disappointed (before) because his people couldn’t get the deal done, and couldn’t negotiate the deal with Dana. I think there was a little ‘dislike’ there somewhere along the way,” Roach explained. “Me and Nick being neutral parties and having a good game plan, I think we pulled off a great deal for him. I think it was a very fair deal.
“It all worked out really well. At the end of the day, I think everyone was happy,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting Georges ready for these fights. I think it will be a lot of fun.”
After over three years away from the sport, and months upon months of negotiations, GSP finally has a new deal he is happy about. Interestingly enough, a lot of the credit goes to an iconic trainer from a different sport.
“Freddie is a very powerful guy. He’s a gangster,” GSP’s head coach Firas Zahabi said on the same show. “When Freddie Roach calls, people answer the phone. I’m not at all surprised he helped get this done.”
Roach, who flew out and worked with St-Pierre in Canada recently, stated that he would be in his corner when GSP does make that eventual return to the Octagon. That would mark his first time to ever corner a UFC bout, and it’s something that Zahabi welcomes with open arms.
“We’ve talked about this many times,” Zahabi said. “I get along with Freddie very well. I love the guy. I think it would be great. I would love to have him there.”