MMA fighter Pierson loving life these days

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:56 PM ET

The first time Toronto mixed martial arts fighter Sean Pierson travelled to Montreal to train with UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, the man known to fight fans as GSP had his chef prepare Pierson a meal. It included a nice steak.

“I thanked him,” Pierson said with a chuckle. “But I said: ‘Georges, I don’t eat red meat.’ So he called his dietitian and changed his diet around just to suit me, so we wouldn’t be eating any red meat.

“He didn’t have to do that for me,” Pierson said. “But that’s just the type of guy he is. He’s very generous.”

St. Pierre is also generous enough to share the spotlight (even if just a little bit) with Pierson on April 30 at the Rogers Centre.

That’s the date of the very first professional UFC fight (UFC 129) in Ontario, a card that will feature St. Pierre defending his UFC welterweight title against Californian Jake Shields.

Also on that historic card, Pierson, 11-4, will meet American Brian Foster, 15-5. Other bouts at UFC 129 will include (unofficially) London, Ont., striker Mark Hominick facing Jose Aldo for the Brazilian great’s UFC featherweight title and former light heavyweight champions Lyoto Machida and Randy Couture facing each other.

Pierson may just be small potatoes on the show, but his fight with Foster has the potential to be the most entertaining of the bunch.

Currently on a six-fight win streak, Pierson got a call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to fight Matt Riddle at UFC 124 at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Dec. 11 after Riddle’s initial opponent, T.J. Waldburger, withdrew because of injury. Fighting for the UFC for the first time, Pierson made the most of the opportunity, earning a unanimous decision over Riddle which UFC president Dana White call the real fight of the night.

For Pierson, fighting at home on April 30 in front of a crowd of over 60,000 will fulfil a dream which started in 1999, when he fought as a pro for the first time while still attending Brock University, where he was the Canadian freestyle wrestling champion.

It certainly hasn’t been an easy road for the 34-year-old. Fighting and training and working full time never was easy and as he got older, friends and associates began to suggest that he quit MMA and concentrate on his career away from the cage. He actually quit the sport for four years after losing to Steve Vigneault in their third fight in Sept. 2003.

“I wanted to focus on my family and my career at Dell Computers. I didn’t want to be a selfish person,” he said. “So many people had sacrificed for me, I wanted to start giving back.”

But he did return in 2007 with the dream of one day fighting for the UFC. Now that’s a reality, and Pierson is training full time for the first time in his career, having quit (at least temporarily) his job as an account manager at Dell. In fact, the personable fighter is heading to Montreal in a couple of weeks to train with St. Pierre. As for Foster, Pierson is expecting a war. The Sallisaw, Okla., native is coming off an impressive second-round submission victory over Matt Brown at UFC 123.

“I haven’t seen a ton of footage on him, but he looks real tough,” Pierson said. “He’s a real firecracker. I’ve going to either have to weather a big storm early or shut him down right away.”

Pierson is certainly not looking past the April 30 card, though he realizes that he probably only has a couple years left in the sport. When it’s done, he wants to remain in MMA in some capacity and either go back to Dell or join the Toronto police force. He actually was set to join as a cadet last October but it revoked its offer over concerns of his former image as an MMA fighter. In 1999, a promoter tagged him with the nickname Pimp Daddy, which still lingers on the Internet, though Pierson’s personally distanced himself from it, being a family man with a two-year-old son Logan. He said he never took the moniker seriously, insisting that it was just a tag, a joke, and is hoping that Police service reconsiders when he retires.

“I really want to give back to the community,” he said.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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