Is Francis Ngannou’s time in the UFC coming to an end?
The heavyweight champion is nearing the end of his eight-fight deal he signed with the UFC in 2017. And when asked if he’d continue to fight under his current deal, Ngannou gave a blunt response.
“No,” Ngannou said to ESPN. “I will not fight for $500,000 [or] $600,000 anymore. It’s over. I took this fight for personal reasons, because I want to make sure that regardless of [whether] it’s fair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights.”
If Francis Ngannou were to lose to Ciryl Gane on Saturday night during UFC 270, he would immediately be out of his current deal. But if he wins, he’d be subjected to the UFC’s “champion clause” – which means his contract would either extent for three more fights, or one more year. Even so, Ngannou says he’d hold out from that until the UFC works out a new deal for him.
“You don’t always come to terms with people,” UFC president Dana White told ESPN last month. “Listen, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you. If you don’t want to be with us, no problem. All good.”
Francis Ngannou shared his desire to start boxing in the past. And he’s even drawn interest for a potential bout with WBC Heavyweight champ, Tyson Fury.
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“100 percent [I need to box],” Ngannou said. “We’ve been having discussions for years. It seems like they are OK with it. Let’s be honest, I do believe that whatever you are doing — whatever the event is — if the UFC is involved, it’s just going to make it bigger. There is no question. So, yes, if I box, I would like the UFC to be on-board.
“Honestly, the only reason we are here is that at some point, there wasn’t good faith in this. I don’t understand why we can’t come to an agreement.”
It doesn’t appear that the UFC will come to an agreement with Francis Ngannou before tomorrow night. Which means the Ciryl Gane fight will carry even more significance.
“We’ve tried to get a deal done with the UFC, but we haven’t seen eye to eye,” Ngannou’s manager, Marquel Martin, said. “At the end of the day, it’s Dana’s decision, it’s the UFC’s decision — whether they want to come back to the table and have a conversation.”