Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White said Monday he’s confident welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will stage a rematch with challenger Johny Hendricks in a timely manner and not take an extended break as the fighter referred to late Saturday.
White added to The Times in a telephone conversation that St-Pierre is refuting a TMZ report Monday that the personal issues he alluded to Saturday night have to do with an unplanned pregnancy and the illness of his father.
White said he spoke to St-Pierre on Monday and the fighter “is denying those rumors that TMZ is reporting about those two things.” White declined to identify what issues are distracting the fighter.
St-Pierre (25-2), who edged Hendricks by split-decision Saturday night at the MGM Grand by scores of 48-47 twice and 47-48, suffered cuts under both eyes and significant facial swelling after getting pounded by Hendricks (15-2) in the second and fourth rounds.
St-Pierre said in the octagon and in a news conference afterward that he needed time off to deal with personal issues that were driving him “crazy” and leaving him sleepless.
But White, who said he was “in a rage” Saturday after hearing St-Pierre’s talk of an unapproved layoff, said he discussed the situation with the fighter both later Saturday and again Sunday.
“As far as a rematch, we’re on schedule and I’ll have a date within a couple weeks,” White said. “I feel confident that Georges is fine with that and all is on track.”
White declined to speculate when the anticipated rematch would happen, but a likely time frame would be around the UFC’s annual Memorial Day weekend card in Las Vegas — which White said could happen.
White had heatedly criticized the Nevada State Athletic Commission and judges after Saturday’s scorecards, assessing that Hendricks had won the fight.
But on Monday, White sounded a more conciliatory tone.
“It’s not the commissioners who I have a problem with, I have great respect for the commissioners,” White said. “I honestly believe change is going to happen, that the athletic commissioners in Nevada will fix the problem.”
St-Pierre was not available for comment Monday, White said, and after spending an extra day in Las Vegas to let his blurred vision improve, St-Pierre is “going off the grid” on vacation, White said.
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