Lightning in a Bottle: GSP Can Never Be the GOAT if He Refuses to Fight Silva David Massey June 28, 2013 News Imagine that your absolute favorite musical artist is playing a show in your hometown and you end up missing it. Then, the very next day, the band goes all Amanda Bynes crazy and decides that they will never return to perform a single note of music for the rest of their lives. You’d forever be kicking yourself for missing out on what can now can only exist in fantasies, because the window of opportunity to experience it closed, and that possibility is gone forever. In a way, the George St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva superfight is like that. And the biggest hang up is coming from within. St-Pierre is like a disgruntled lead singer who wants to derail what should be the group’s biggest show ever, and one that everybody would want to see. He just won’t play ball in order to make it happen. Frankly, it’s a decision that will forever keep him playing second banana to Silva as the greatest mixed martial artist of our generation. If it’s never to be proven in actual competition, there’s no way that GSP will ever rise above Silva. Eventually, he’ll likely even trail behind Jon Jones, if the light heavyweight continues his winning ways. Silva, the longtime UFC middleweight champion, has also long been considered the No. 1 mixed martial artist in the world, though some could rightfully argue on behalf of St-Pierre’s case. Silva spoke with media on a UFC 162 conference call Tuesday, and one of the things he discussed was his intentions to move on from talks of a superfight with St-Pierre, because, according to him, St-Pierre never stepped up to accept the challenge for the lengthy time it has been out there. The debate over whether the fight could even happen has been exhausted at this point, but you better believe that all eyes in the MMA world would be on the event if it were to take place. And it seems like it could happen, if St-Pierre would just stand up and definitively say, “yes, I want this fight, make it happen!” But he hasn’t. Instead we’ve listened to him telling us over the last year that, oh yeah, he would win the fight, but he has things to do in his division first. Or that Silva is too big and needs to come down to 170 pounds, it’s not the right time, and so on. You can’t blame Silva for disregarding GSP as a possible opponent after all of the French-Canadian’s stalling. Honestly, it all sounds like a bunch of excuses from St-Pierre because he doesn’t want to take the fight. It’s like arguing with your friend when you know they are wrong. Eventually you can forgive them, but you’ve got to have the satisfaction of seeing them speak the truth from their own lips to truly put the matter to rest. If St-Pierre doesn’t want a straight-up fight with Silva, no matter the money or glory to be gained, then there would be absolutely nothing wrong with him saying so. But the fact that St-Pierre says he could beat Silva and then throws out several reasons why the fight cannot come to fruition makes him look weak. Outside of GSP’s hurdles, it really does seem like there are few other factors holding this fight back. It’s a perfect storm of a big-money fight waiting to be promoted. UFC President Dana White said himself that holding the superfight at Cowboys Stadium, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, would be a dream. Even a MMA layman could connect the dots and realize how big of an opportunity this would be to have what might be the biggest fight in the history of the sport. But there’s an expiration date on the bottle you use to capture lightning. Wait too long and the spark will dissipate. That shrinking time frame to get the sport’s most recognized champions in the cage together should take precedence over matters that seem paltry in comparison. Is it really that important for GSP to tend to his division’s contenders? Have we seen the fighters who are receiving title shots in the UFC lately? Jon Jones’ last two fights have been against active middleweights. Silva is next fighting Chris Weidman, who is definitely worthy of setting foot inside the Octagon with Silva, but Weidman has been out of action for a year and, despite having the skill set to present a serious threat for Silva, only received the shot because a marquee match-up with Vitor Belfort or Michael Bisping couldn’t be made. GSP’s last fight was against a fighter that had come off a loss and a failed drug test. The point is, the UFC is not waiting around on the most deserving challenger to get the next shot at the champion. The promotion will make the fights that fans want to see and or the ones that it believes will make the most money. All of the sudden it’s important for St-Pierre to defend his belt for the UFC in lieu of a blockbuster fight? I doubt the UFC shares that sentiment. Silva’s too much bigger than him? Look at the “undersized-for-lightweight” Frankie Edgar. He was smaller than many of his opponents, but that didn’t stop him from becoming champion. I’m just not buying it. In the last few years, we’ve seen the potential for a blockbuster fight crash and burn in the boxing world. That’s why the GSP vs. Silva superfight is so important at this moment. Coming into 2012, Manny Pacquiao was the hottest boxer on the face of the planet. He’s the first boxer to have ever earned championships in eight different divisions and at that point was making his way through welterweight. One of the other most popular and successful boxers in the world is Floyd Mayweather. At the time, a match between Pacquiao and Mayweather was to be one of the biggest fights in recent boxing history. It’s a parallel of Silva vs.GSP in MMA. But enough time was wasted on the way to the match that eventually the window closed. In his 2012 campaign, Pacquiao lost a questionable decision and his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley. His next fight was a devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez that sent Pacquiao’s previously high stock plummeting downward as hard as his face did towards the canvas. Meanwhile, Mayweather spent around a quarter of his 2012 in jail, but returned to boxing and earning the largest paydays in combat sports. The fight with Pacquiao is no longer as much of a relevant blockbuster event as it could have been before the two ran into the unforeseen complications that the future would bring. Now, both of their camps can count the loss of the millions of dollars in profits that they let slip through their fingers. And the fans will continue to debate who could have proven to be the better fighter when the iron was hot in Pacquiao’s career. It appears we are witnessing the same kind of situation play out with Silva and St-Pierre. The time to make the fight is running out. The window is getting smaller and smaller each month. Silva’s place in MMA history is already secure without this fight, as is GSP’s. What makes their legacies different is that Silva dispatches his opponents in such a brutally artistic fashion. Onlookers usually have to pick up their jaws and the pieces of their blown minds after watching him fight. St-Pierre’s outings, while thoroughly dominating and masterfully choreographed, are often tedious to watch due to his reliance on a wrestling-heavy attack. Is he wrong for that? No. But let’s not kid ourselves that lopsided decisions will ever be appreciated more than fight-ending violence and entertainment when it comes to the praise of the MMA masses. That’s why if St-Pierre could do to Silva what he’s done to the vast majority of his opponents, then he’d be recognized as the greatest mixed martial artist of our era. If he chooses to continue like he has and say everything but “yes,” then he’ll forever be known as the No. 2 guy, always overshadowed by Silva. Maybe that’s what he’s worried about, though. Maybe St-Pierre is afraid that Silva will prove that he really is the superior fighter and remove all the doubt that can only exist if the two never meet in the cage. As fans, we can’t kick ourselves for missing it. It’s not our fault if one of the performers doesn’t even want to go on stage. Photo: Georges St-Pierre (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting) Ben This is ridiculous. SILVA IS BIGGER THAN GSP. THEY FIGHT IN DIFFERENT WEIGHT CLASSES. By this logic, Anderson can’t be the GOAT unless he fights Cain.