Much of what's happening with Georges St-Pierre right now is a mystery.
We don't have strong insight into what's bothering him. Or what he plans to do about it. Or how long it will take to get resolved. It's personal, he said, opting against discussing things further after carrying a controversial split decision over Johny Hendricks on Saturday night.
Whatever it is, apparently it's troubling enough to keep him from sleeping. He's going crazy. He says he has issues. In any other sport, of course, this sort of story would be fought over. It is, I think, fair game -- especially because UFC president Dana White claimed health issues weren't the reason St-Pierre wanted to take a step back. I hoped to understand better so I emailed with St-Pierre's friend and co-manager Rodolphe Beaulieu and asked what the champion meant about needing to "make a point" by walking away for a spell.
"But for sure you don't retire at 32 without some reasons!" Beaulieu responded.
You don't "retire at 32 without some reasons"?
More mystery, because St-Pierre never said it directly.
Of the issues worth speculating about, the status of St-Pierre's brain health tops the list. Hey, he brought it up, saying his "brain got bashed left and right" inside his skull by Hendricks.
"I was hurt. I'm not an egomaniac. I say it when I'm hurt, I'm hurt," St-Pierre said. "And he hurt me a lot tonight. Look at me. I gave my best. I left everything in there. I hope people appreciate it.
"I went all out. With no regret. I don't regret anything tonight. I give everything. I left my soul in the Octagon tonight."
Anyone watching had to acknowledge the damage the UFC champion endured.
"He got hurt many times," White said of St-Pierre. "He didn't even know where he was. He didn't even know what the hell was going on. And he kept coming forward. And he fought his ass off. When he sat here and said, 'I gave everything I had tonight,' he did. It's true."
It may not seem so considering St-Pierre's reputation as a guy who didn't take much damage along the way, but mileage is adding up. His face was a mess, the worst yet. His right eye once again turned blurry. After facing "the hardest puncher" he's ever seen, St-Pierre couldn't recall chunks of the fight.
There was talk from White about St-Pierre owing the fans, owing Hendricks, owing the belt, owing the UFC an immediate rematch. But after all the years and success, it's difficult to accept that St- Pierre "owes" anything to anyone but himself.
"This is his job," White said. "This is what he does. And he gets paid a lot of money to do it."
The bottom line is: If St-Pierre chooses not to do his job for six months, six years, or the rest of his life, that's the way it has to go and we all have to accept it.
Forbes reported during fight week that St-Pierre made $12 million over the past 12 months, with three quarters of that coming directly from UFC business. Unreported was how much the UFC made off him during that span. Needless to say it's a lot, which could be one reason why the UFC would want St-Pierre to return as soon as possible.
"I don't think it's going to be a waiting situation," White said. "I don't think it's going to be anything like that."
March 15 in Dallas was announced for UFC 171. Would St-Pierre be ready to fight Hendricks then -- this time, in the challenger's hometown?
White's expression suggested he sure hoped so.
For the time being, be sure to add this to the list of things we don't know.