Longtime stable of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Georges "Rush" St-Pierre announced Friday during a conference call that he would be vacating his Welterweight Championship and taking an "indefinite" leave from the sport of mixed martial arts.

The announcement came during a specially scheduled UFC conference call Friday afternoon.

It had been long-speculated that St-Pierre would be doing as announced and there was no confirmation until the conference call.

All this after St-Pierre's last fight in November at UFC 167 that sparked a lot of controversy. The longtime champion won the bout by split decision, which had a lot of fans up in arms. Shortly after the victory, St-Pierre said he would be taking some time off for personal reasons.

UFC president Dana White had been vocal about the champ's decision since he had had nearly a year off due to injury.

St-Pierre had this to say during the conference call:

I’ve been fighting for a very long time at a high level, it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism. I decided I needed to take a time off, I know the UFC is a business and they can’t wait on my personal [business] they need to keep things rolling.  I’m vacating my title for the other competitors

As for the vacated title, a fight between Johnny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will take place in Dallas, TX on March 15 to crown a new champion.


More on this story as it develops.