GSP out long-term with torn ACL

Georges St. Pierre (right) battles Dan Hardy during their welterweight title bout during UFC 111 at...

Georges St. Pierre (right) battles Dan Hardy during their welterweight title bout during UFC 111 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on March 27, 2010. (JON KOPALOFF/Getty Images/AFP)

CHRIS DOUCETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 PM ET

TORONTO - It’s been a hell of a year for Canada’s own Georges St. Pierre.

But on Wednesday, after news broke that GSP had suffered a devastating knee injury that forced him to pull out of a fight for the second time in as many months, the Montreal native remained optimistic and vowed his mixed martial arts career is far from over.

“Mark my words, I’m going to tell you right now ... in a few months I’m going to be back stronger than ever and I will be champion again,” GSP said. “This I promise my fans.”

At start of 2011, the UFC welterweight champ’s boss called him the most famous professional athlete in the world.

And in April, GSP headlined the company’s biggest show and successfully defended his title for the eighth straight time in front of a record-setting crowd of 55,000 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

But it has been all downhill since that historical night when he beat Jake Shields, but left the octagon unable to see out of one eye.

After his eye healed, St. Pierre was slated to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 135 in October. That is until Diaz was a no-show at a pre-fight press conference and UFC President Dana White yanked him off the card.

Carlos Condit was given the title shot.

However, GSP was forced to pulled out of that bout with an injury.

His doctor, Sebastien Simard, explained Wednesday that at that time GSP hurt his left knee, an injury that turned out to be a strained medial collateral ligament (MCL).

Simard said soon after GSP also hurt the hamstring on his right leg, so there was no way he could fight.

The bout with Condit was postponed until Super Bowl weekend in February. But then Diaz called out GSP after beating B.J. Penn in the main event of UFC 137, the card St. Pierre was suppose to headline before his injuries.

Diaz accused GSP of faking his injury, saying the champ was “scared” to fight Condit.

Always the promoter, White seized the opportunity and booked Diaz to fight GSP in Las Vegas instead of Condit.

GSP’s doctor said he was fully recovered and ready to do battle but then he hyper extended his other knee while wrestling.

“He felt pain and he heard a crack inside his knee,” Simard said.

GSP was still able to walk and had little swelling, so he returned to training.

But while working out with Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas recently, he realized the pain wasn’t going away.

An MRI confirmed GSP had “a complete tear of his ACL and a small tear of his internal miniscus on the right knee.”

“There’s no way he can compete,” Simard said, explaining GSP will have to undergo reconstructive surgery.

As long as there are no complications, the doctor said St. Pierre should make a full recovery within six to nine months.

“His recovery rate is completely off the chart.,” Simard said. “He has amazing genetics.”

GSP is taking the setback in stride, but he was obviously upset by the negative reaction circulating on the web.

“A few months ago I was the world champion, on top of the world, and now I’m in a downfall,” he said. “But you recognize a champion from how he comes back from a loss, not from how he is when everything is going well.”

UFC fighters typically fight every three to four months, barring injury.

It has already been eight months since GSP’s most recent fight. And with the likelihood of many more months ahead before he can step into the Octagon again, GSP’s boss decided he’ll have to give up his crown temporarily.

Diaz and Condit will now go toe-to-toe at UFC 143.

“I believe it’s right thing to do,” GSP said of the two number one contenders squaring off for the title of interim champion. “I just hope the best guy wins the fight.”

The true gentleman that he is, St. Pierre also wished both fighters “the best of luck.”


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