The Rush To Hate GSP

By Raphael Garcia

The sports world can be a tough community to please, whether it’s the media who covers you, or the fans who spend money to watch you perform. Staying conservative by running the football, going for the layup instead of the slam dunk, or using wrestling to win a fight can quickly draw the ire of fans looking for non-stop action. Although it’s the athlete’s job to win within the rules, that won’t always keep everyone happy. Case in point: Georges St. Pierre, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight champion who can’t seem to win over the critics.

“Rush” is a two-time champion that has held the title during this second reign for nearly five years. Since that time he’s put on an impressive run that includes some of the greatest welterweights in the sport. And yet, fans have slowly begun to turn on St. Pierre, and not for what he says, or for behaving inappropriately while away from competition. Instead, the hate is slowly growing due to the fact that he wins his fights through strategies that, though they may be the most effective, are very far from being the most exciting.

St. Pierre won the undisputed welterweight title in 2008 when he stopped Matt Serra in the second round of their bout. From that point he’s finished only one other competitor, B.J. Penn when they faced off in 2009. Other than that, he’s fought seven bouts for a total of 175 minutes of cage work. With nearly three hours of continued fighting, fans point to him as one of the most boring fighters in the sport. Instead of looking at the competition that he is facing, St. Pierre is faced with continued boos and beset with naysayers after each contest.

Looking closer at GSP’s record since regaining the title back in 2008, St. Pierre has faced fighters that have a combined record of 193 wins and 69 losses. Of those 69 total losses, they have been finished a combined 27 times, which equates to a simple 39 percent. Delving even deeper into those numbers, only 12 of those finishes have come within the Octagon. While fighting at the highest level in MMA, the athletes that have faced against GSP have been finished in only 17 percent of their total losses. That alone shows how tough it is to finish a top-tier fighter in this sport. Yet, as with many other aspects of professional sports, that fact is often lost amidst the fans’ expressions of anger towards GSP’s performances. Furthermore, in the nearly five years since his title reign began, there have only been 24 finishes across all championship reigns, which shows you just how difficult it is to secure a stoppage when two top fighters do battle over the title of “best in the world.”

Georges St. Pierre is one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history. He may not have the stoppages that some of his contemporaries have enjoyed, but for five years, he has amassed an accumulation of one-sided wins over the best opposition the world has had to offer at 170 pounds. And while fans don’t have to enjoy all of the fighters who compete, the way many have completely disparaged St. Pierre’s accomplishments and status has been misguided and unfair. Like him or not, there’s something to be said for excellence in execution, especially in sports, and no one embodies that principle in MMA more than GSP.

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