One of the most decorated fighters in the history of MMA may have finally been defeated.
Georges St. Pierre was sidelined late last week, but by no mere mortal. He appears to have gradually succumbed to the all-encompassing mental and physical strains of the sport of MMA itself. After successfully defending his UFC welterweight title for the ninth time last December, a battle-ravaged St-Pierre was emotionally shaken to the core. Ironically enough, his challenger Johnny Hendricks sat nearby, upbeat and unscathed.
In a recent interview with CBS News, the fighter revealed that he has long suffered from OCD. His condition had advanced to such a degree that his state of mind was beginning to crumble. He explained that his obsession over an upcoming fight would be so overwhelming that it would eclipse everything else in his life. He also pointed out that OCD can make a person into a better fighter because of the singularity of focus.
A better fighter, sure, but how about a self-absorbed, antisocial, disconnected, maladjusted, paranoid, tormented martyr? It’s definitely possible, and it does not sound like much fun.
Late last week, St. Pierre released a statement that he had torn his ACL while training. No, he didn’t repeat his left knee injury from 2011. Like his internal emotions fraying apart, it was another fresh snap in the fiber of his being — another surgery to recover from and another digit in the odds that are stacking against him ever returning to the Octagon.
St. Pierre has just been matched with a fearsome opponent. His mental and physical issues are squared off in front of him like the clenched fists of the most powerful warrior he has ever faced: himself. Now that he is on his back at the bottom of the hill, maybe he can forget the pressure of being the champ for awhile and focus his OCD directly at his right knee.
At present, his own body and mind are the only things holding him back from top-level fighting. If he were to set his sights on competing in the UFC again, he just may be in for the fight of his life. He has demonstrated that no man in his weight class can beat him. Perhaps the only one who can beat St. Pierre is the man himself.
Fighting his way back to the Octagon could be a brutal exercise in facing and repairing the broken fibers of his body and mind — a journey of transformation on two fronts. Those are big fists St. Pierre faces. Can he look in the mirror?