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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Canadian Georges "Rush" St-Pierre defeats B.J. Penn to retain UFC welterweight title


2008 Canadian athlete of the year, and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Montreal native Georges St-Pierre defeated B.J. Penn by technical knock out in the fourth round.

St-Pierre dominated the second, third and fourth round, before Penn's corner indicated that Penn would not continue on to the fifth and final round.

You can read the details on the Sports Illustrated blog here.

USA Today reports on the fight:

BJ Penn's two-belt dream disappeared beneath four rounds of non-stop pressure from welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

St-Pierre, of Montreal, thoroughly dominated Penn with a grinding, unrelenting ground-and-pound barrage over the last three rounds of their fight on Saturday at UFC 94, in Las Vegas. Although scheduled for five rounds, the fight was stopped after the fourth round on the advice of the ringside doctor. [...]

The matchup was billed as a bout between two of the world's most skilled fighters, with St-Pierre and Penn rated among the top four in several pound-for-pound ranking lists, including those of Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports. Online oddsmakers listed St-Pierre as a slight favorite.

St-Pierre (18-2) has won both of his fights against Penn (13-5-1), whom he beat via split decision in March 2006.

Saturday's bout was only for the belt of the welterweight division (170 pounds). St-Pierre said he now views rising star Thiago Alves as the top contender for the welterweight championship.

Matthew Johnston, publisher of the Western Standard, is a mixed martial arts fan, sponsoring fighters like Misty Sutherland. Read Johnston's take on Republican presidential candidate John McCain's anti-MMA comments here.

While a Canadian continues to dominate the sport, receives athlete of the year honours, and can fight in his home province of Quebec, the sport is still illegal in Ontario. The culprit is section 83.1 of the criminal code which prohibits "prizefighting" (fighting for money) unless the contestants wear gloves that are a minimum of "140 grams each in mass."

UFC has expressed a desire to host an Ontario event (most probably at the Rogers Centre) in late 2009. Of course, it would have to be legal first.

Ontario: legalize it.

You can vote in our online poll here:

(Link here, if the poll doesn't show up for you)

UPDATE (Feb. 1): You may be able to watch videos of yesterday's fights here.

After the fight, GSP spoke with ESPN commentators about his fight:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 31, 2009 in Sports | Permalink


Good fight.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-31 11:44:29 PM

What a bunch of morons.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-01-31 11:57:09 PM

I don't see the poll, Peter.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-01 12:10:27 AM

As for the fight, GSP managed to avoid Penn's left jab that did so much damage in their first first. Penn didn't appear to gas, he just got out fought. GSP proved himself a good tactician.

GSP is not just an athlete; he's a fighter with good skills and good instincts. I was impressed.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-01 12:22:13 AM

To me, UFC fights tend to look like two guys hugging each other a lot until someone gets mad and actually throws a punch.

Not that there's anything wrong with that... although, that's the way my cats seem to fight, too.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-02-01 12:23:54 AM

That's crazy talk, Terrence. It's art, mixed martial arts to be exact. There is a lot going on when they "hug" or roll around on the ground.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-01 12:31:34 AM

Someone from Alabama voted strongly disagree. Is that you, ZP?

And where's our resident fight expert? I want to hear what DP has to say.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-01 12:41:55 AM

I voted "strongly agree", because I think it is only right that Jaws be able to see men hugging each other as often as he wishes.

Indeed, one might argue that justice demands it. "To each according to his need," and all that :-)

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-02-01 1:07:07 AM

Terrence: "To me, UFC fights tend to look like two guys hugging each other a lot..."

When I surf the TV channels and come accross a MMA fight, I always wonder just for a moment if the CRTC has approved a new gay porn channel.

Jaws: "2008 Canadian athlete of the year..."

I'm sure that's news to Chantal Petitclerc

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-02-01 5:44:24 AM

That should read "Sportsnet's 2008 Canadian Athlete of the Year." I'll fix it in a bit.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-02-01 7:57:24 AM

Should not this gruesome 'sport' be banned?

Posted by: Charles Martin Cosgriff | 2009-02-01 8:11:19 AM

All I'm going to say here is...lets get this silva/gsp fight on its way...enough is enough...lets make it happen. Drop weight, gain weight whatever it takes. Fight of the century, am I right??!

Posted by: Breen Taylor | 2009-02-01 10:47:24 AM

Surely there's a natural 185er ready to fight Silva.

That fight with Cote was a disgrace.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-01 11:09:47 AM

Chantal Petitclerc won that distinction for wheelchair racing. While no doubt she an accomplished athlete, GSP is an international sensation in what might be the most demanding sport in the world.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-01 11:27:53 AM

dissapointment to say he least. silva is in a league of his own..we would all agree on thatI think. At this point many of his potential fight cards would unfortunatly be racks of hanging beef for (silva) him..so why not work it out with gsp...yes, there would be some obstacles ...but doesn't that just look right..like chilli ans superbowls .it just fits..i don't know..its been talked about ..but why not explore it..

Posted by: Breen Taylor | 2009-02-01 11:49:28 AM

Other than the Machida-Silva and GSP-Penn fights, the event didn't turn out as good as it could have (although, I haven't watched the undercards yet, so I'm excited to see the Fitch-Gono match). GSP did absolutely amazing. Hopefully after Alvez he can move up to fight Silva at 185.

I've been a huge proponent of legalizing MMA in Ontario for while. The problem is just with one bureaucrat named Ken Hayashi (not sure of spelling, I didn't need to look up his name). He is the head of Ontario's athletic commission and he is using the federal law to ban MMA. However under this same federal law, Montreal hosted a UFC event last year and I know that both Alberta and BC host smaller events.

MMA is safer than boxing (if you define safer to mean less chance of dying or having serious head injuries), but that shouldn't be the point. The point is these are trained athletes that consent to compete against each other and should have the freedom to do so.

Posted by: Ken | 2009-02-02 8:32:36 AM

Great comment, Ken. I understand that provinvial athlete commissions have the authority to allow MMA events for not. We do have MMA events in Alberta, where I'm from. What federal law governs the sport?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-02-02 9:57:25 AM

The fights are available for download.

Aired fights:

Georges St-Pierre Vs. BJ Penn
Lyoto Machida Vs. Thiago Silva
Stephan Bonnar Vs. Jon Jones
Karo Parisyan Vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Nate Diaz Vs. Clay Guida


Posted by: The Stig | 2009-02-02 10:03:26 AM

Matthew wrote, "What federal law governs the sport?"

The section of the criminal code that Peter pointed out in his post on prize fighting. So this allows boxing, but not MMA. Some provinces do allow MMA though, I believe by the reasoning that the law was created before MMA existed and it is outdated.

Redardless of the laws and Ken Hayashi, I think it will be legal in Ontario because Dana White (UFC President) is pushing hard for it. He has fought for MMA to be legalized and regulated in many jurisdictions and seems to get this done more often than not. He was on Off The Record a while ago and he said he was confident that he could get a UFC event in Toronto, so I'm hoping he's right. Once UFC can come into Ontario, that opens up the door for the smaller promotions to also hold events.

Posted by: Ken | 2009-02-02 11:25:30 AM

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