On Saturday, George St. Pierre, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist in history, retired in the Octagon.
As a human being I'm jealous of the confidence and control he has over his life and finances to be able to walk away from fame and fortune. As a man, I'm glad that he is able to depart while still at the peak of health and with many years left of life to enjoy. As a fan, I'm saddened that we may never see GSP's mastery in the cage ever again.
GSP's departure leaves the UFC's welterweight division without the star that has anchored it since St. Pierre decimated Matt Hughes at UFC 65. The abrupt departure also leaves a significant void in the promotional plans of the UFC as GSP is the top drawing star in the fighting world.
What would a departure like this mean for WWE? As the UFC's chief rival in the world of televised fisticuffs, WWE also employs a caste system of sorts with certain stars simply holding more clout than others mainly by virtue of their ability to win big matches, entertain the paying audience, and therefore generate revenue for their companies.
GSP fights 2-4 times per year on many of the UFC's biggest cards. That sounds a lot like Brock Lesnar's schedule, but actual fights don't tell the whole story. It's a feather in the cap for the UFC to have a world class fighting celebrity like GSP in it's employ, carrying the company banner.
It's starting to sound like GSP's WWE equivalent is someone more like John Cena.
We got to see a microcosm of a prolonged Cena absence when he got his elbow worked on in early fall. A by-product of his hiatus was the emergence of Daniel Bryan as a major main event player. This run was predicated by a high profile victory over Cena that was rapidly snatched away by an overzealous beaurocratic presence.
Many people might draw a comparison of Bryan's rise to Johnny Hendricks' questionable decision loss to GSP this weekend. I personally feel that Georges won the fight, but it is certainly a valid discussion to have, as the judges could easily have granted the decision victory to Hendricks rather than the defending champion.
Either way, Cena's return generated sufficient excitement to put him in an immediate title bout. This is what I predict will someday happen with GSP, as well. He'll eventually grow weary of a life of lea sure and step back into the eight sided circle, to much fanfare and probably a title opportunity.
This is, in my opinion, a good thing since both promotions are better served (and better serving their fans) with their top stars in place and active.
For now, I wish the UFC good luck. Their promotional success is now in the hands of the very legitimate fighting skill and curiously counterfeit personality of Jon Jones... yuck.
In a related story, I am going to purchase some more WWE stock on Monday.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE OR WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 29 and culminates with WrestleMania 30. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Monday Night Raw -- 11/11/13
Main Event -- 11/13/13
SmackDown -- 11/15/13
1. ALBERTO DEL RIO -- 99.5 points
2. Randy Orton -- 84.5
3. Daniel Bryan -- 80.5
4. Curtis Axel -- 67.5
5. John Cena -- 50
6. Dolph Ziggler -- 47.5
7. Rob Van Dam -- 42
8. Ryback -- 40
9. Fandango -- 36
10. Kofi Kingston -- 35
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!