Georges St-Pierre’s run as middleweight champion lasted just 33 days, announcing he has effectively vacated the throne due to a battle with ulcerative colitis.
A former UFC welterweight champion, St-Pierre moved up in weight for the first time in his career following a four-year absence from MMA. He defeated then-champion Michael Bisping to win the crown, expected to face interim champion Robert Whittaker next.
“My fight at UFC 217 was one of the greatest nights of my life but I now need to take some time to focus on my health,” St-Pierre said in a statement (via MMA Fighting). “Out of respect to the athletes and the sport, I don’t want to hold up the division. I will be giving up my belt and once I’m healthy I look forward to working with the UFC to determine what’s next in my career.”
Whittaker has now been elevated to undisputed champion, currently expected to face former champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in February.
Given the nature of St-Pierre’s health, it’s unclear if he will wind up returning at 170 pounds — a weight that may prove more suitable for a fighter with an intestinal disease.
“After the fight, I thought first it was the stress that caused it and it would go away, but it did not go away,” St-Pierre said. “So what happened is even after the fight it persisted and I knew something was wrong so I let a few days pass by and after that I went to see a specialist. And I’ve been diagnosed with colitis, ulcer colitis, but now I have the medication and since I started medication it goes very well. So I’m almost 100-percent now.
“I feel much better now than before and also it’s a lot less blood so it’s good. It was a more scary and stressful situation for me than the actual reality. There’s different levels of colitis, I don’t think mine is very severe. Some people are stuck in a situation where it’s more severe and it can affect their well-being much more, but mine is not that bad.”