UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has long been known as one of the true class act fighters in all of MMA. While it sometimes rubs some fans the wrong way for St-Pierre to be the way he is in a sport where absurd things are said often to promote fights, he believes that it works to his benefit.
“This is something that I’ve been doing since the beginning of my career. I wore a suit at press conferences when all the other fighters were making fun of me. (They said), ‘Oh, look at St-Pierre, he doesn’t wear his sponsor.’ I’m the one who first started doing this stuff, and I think the image and how you conduct yourself… because the sponsor, the big companies in corporate America, they’re not interested in sponsoring an athlete who is good in his sport but acts like an idiot outside of the Octagon. They want someone who performs well, of course, but acts like a gentleman outside of the Octagon.
I understood that more than ten years ago. That’s why I behave the way I do and I do things that I do. That’s why I have a lot of sponsors. I do have a lot of sponsors and a lot of money because of this. It brings money to the table.”
Of all the fighters in the UFC, St-Pierre has some of the highest profile and mainstream sponsors in the sport. St-Pierre has deals with Gatorade and Under Armor that have garnered him commercial spots with some of the top athletes in all of sports. It is no coincidence that St-Pierre has also garnered a lot of attention from agents that typically represent the biggest names in sports and entertainment.
St-Pierre insists the reason for this is because he views MMA as a real profession, saying:
“I’m in this business because I want to make it for a living, for money,” he said rather passionately. “People don’t understand that. They used to make fun of me. Now ten years after, now they start picking up on it. It’s sad to see that it takes a long time for them to understand.”
St-Pierre is currently in the midst of a long round of physical therapy after requiring knee surgery. St-Pierre hopes to return to the octagon in the late fall, where he will seek to unify the welterweight title against interim champion Carlos Condit.