Just when I thought my holiday gift-receiving season was over and my holiday pretending–to-be-happy-giving-gifts-to-my-gentile-friends season was beginning, I showed up at work today and was greeted with the news that I—that we—will be receiving two surprises from the UFC today. Just like that, from out of nowhere! It’s an MMA miracle! Like Ebenezer Scrooge showing up at the Marley’s door with a fat goose.
First, at 2:20pm, Georges St-Pierre will be taking part in a “special media conference call” alongside UFC President Dana White to discuss the longtime, and ever-cryptic, welterweight champion’s future plans following his recent controversial win over Johny Hendricks and the psychological breakdown that seemed to follow it. Ever since GSP’s post-fight press conference last month, in which he talked about needing to “get out for a while” and said that he hadn’t been sleeping and was “going crazy,” everyone in the MMA world has been speculating about his mental state and his future in the sport. Some have said he’s going to retire, others that he’s merely going to take a hiatus. Meanwhile, there’s been talk about a sick father and a possible illegitimate love child, both rumors that GSP refuted to a TMZ “reporter” while trying to walk through an airport a few weeks ago.
In other words, no one knows what GSP is going to say. It’s a true Christmas surprise. St-Pierre’s longtime coach Firas Zahabi says he has no idea what GSP will be talking about, and Dana White will only say that it’ll be “stuff that people want to hear.”
I can only assume that means that GSP will be talking about the possibility of retirement, what exactly he meant when he told UFC commentator Joe Rogan he’d “lost time” after a “third-type encounter” with extraterrestrials, and if he believes in Santa Claus. And if he does, whether he’s convinced, as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is, that Santa is white.
Our second holiday surprise also involves St-Pierre (it’s a busy season for a UFC champion). At 6:30, EA Sports and the UFC will be releasing a rollout video for their upcoming video game, EA Sports UFC, meaning we’ll finally know which UFC fighter was voted by fans to join light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones on the game's cover. In case you don’t remember, for the last month MMA fans have been voting for the fighter they want on the cover beside Jones through a 16-man (and woman) bracket tournament on the UFC Web site. Today EA will tell us which one of the finalists, GSP or Jones’ current nemesis in the light heavyweight division, Alexander Gustafsson, won. A few weeks ago we bemoaned fans’ decision to vote for those two men as the height of conservative thinking, but at a certain point you have to resign yourself to fate, and now we, like everyone else, are waiting impatiently.
The smart money’s on GSP, as the most popular and well-known fighter in the UFC, but if he announces his retirement earlier in the day then all bets are off. I’m no conspiracy theorist but it’s hard to imagine St-Pierre quitting the UFC at 2:20 and the UFC then making the man’s face the center of a public relations rollout four hours later. So don’t be surprised if the UFC opens up the voting for an extra, unannounced four hours this afternoon then goes all Lyndon Johnson on the electoral process and starts stuffing the ballot box with the votes of long-dead MMA fans, cartoon characters, and even Santa Claus.
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