The question of what exactly is bothering UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre to the point he felt he needed to announce a temporary leave from fighting has been the source of a great deal of speculation on the Internet ever since the words came out of his mouth on Saturday night.
TMZ Sports reported on Monday that the site had learned the details.
According the website, St. Pierre’s father is ill and the longtime champion impregnated a woman and “doesn’t want her to have the baby.”
TMZ Sports cited sources close to the fighter in the report.
St. Pierre’s sister Myriam spoke to La Presse, a French-language newspaper in Montreal, on Monday to dispute half of the report.
“My father is going very well. We got lots of calls, and this rumor has to stop. It makes us pain,” she said, according to a translated version of the quote. “I do not know where this rumor came from, but it is wrong.”
She had no comment on the pregnancy portion of the report.
St. Pierre would not elaborate on his personal issues on Saturday night, saying only that they were weighing heavily on his mind.
“I’m going crazy. I have issues, man. I need to relax,” he said after winning a controversial split decision over Johny Hendricks in the main event of UFC 167 at MGM Grand. “I need to get out for a while. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
UFC president Dana White was originally angry at the surprise announcement, but calmed down after speaking with the champion for about 10 minutes behind closed doors.
“He’s obsessing over something right now that he thinks is the end of the world, but it’s not,” White said of St. Pierre.
White said he was confident a rematch with Hendricks would be booked in relatively short order.
■ ASKREN IN LIMBO — White said on several occasions over the weekend he had no interest in signing Ben Askren, the Bellator champion who became a free agent last week when the organization announced it would waive its matching rights on his contract and grant him his unconditional release.
The 2008 Olympian and two-time NCAA wrestling champion is undefeated in 12 professional MMA fights. He is seen as fairly one-dimensional at this point in his career, but is as good at anyone in the sport at implementing his style and appears to have a natural ability to market himself.
Still, White said he would pass on the opportunity to sign Askren.
“I have no interest. He’s their champion and they don’t want him. What does that say?” White said before seizing the opportunity to rip Bellator and its CEO, Bjorn Rebney. “I truly feel sorry for the kids that have to be stuck in that (expletive). And the fact you would just give away a guy who has gone undefeated for you just shows the kind of people you are. It just shows what kind of business you do.
“As far as the kid and what kind of level he’s on, he barely beat Jay Hieron. He’s got some work to do, and he can fight in another organization and work his way up.”
Of course, if the UFC were interested in signing a free agent, it would be in the organization’s best interest to downplay its desire to do a deal in order to drive down the asking price.
■ JONES FIGHT POSTPONED AGAIN — The next title defense for light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will happen against Glover Teixeira. It’s just not clear when that fight might take place.
The bout was originally announced as the headliner for UFC 169 on Feb. 1 in New Jersey, but White later said that was just a miscommunication and the bout would instead serve as the main event for UFC 170 on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas.
That’s not going to be the case.
White said he now expects the fight to happen in March, but Jones won’t be ready to defend the belt at UFC 170 due to lingering injuries from his September victory over Alexander Gustafsson.
“Jon Jones went back in the gym and just didn’t feel good,” White said on Saturday. “He said his legs were still bothering him and his eye is bothering him. He still banged up from that fight.”
In other scheduling news, lightweight contender Josh Thomson will fight former champion Benson Henderson in the main event of the UFC on Fox 10 card in Chicago on Jan. 25.
Thomson was in line to fight champion Anthony Pettis for the belt on the UFC on Fox 9 card in December, but Pettis was forced to withdraw from the fight with a knee injury that will require surgery.
■ RAMPAGE WINS — Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was successful in his Bellator debut on Friday.
Jackson knocked out former UFC competitor Joey Beltran with one second remaining in the opening round of the main event of Bellator 108 in Atlantic City, N.J. Jackson had lost three straight fights to end his stint with the UFC.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.