Francis Ngannou Signs with PFL, Deal Allows Ex-UFC Champ To Box

Francis Ngannou, UFC 270
Francis Ngannou, UFC 270 Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Francis Ngannou has, as expected, signed on with a new promotion — and its the PFL.

After teasing a few days ago that he would have an announcement on Tuesday, Ngannou was scooped by the New York Times. The Professional Fighters League subsequently confirmed the signing via press release.

The exact terms of the detail were not disclosed — but it does allow for Ngannou to compete in boxing, with a bout expected to come outside the PFL later this year. The former UFC heavyweight champion, who never lost his title, will then be expected to make his debut for the PFL sometime in 2024.

Tuesday’s press release calls the Ngannou signing “an exclusive global MMA strategic partnership” between the promotion and fighter. Ngannou (17-3) will compete in the league’s Super-Fight division, alongside the likes of Jake Paul and Kayla Harrison.

As for an opponent, when Ngannou makes his league debut next year, he will compete against “a major global MMA star fighter to be chosen in the future.” TBD, in other words.

50% of revenue from the PFL’s super-fight division goes to the fighters, a unique concept in mixed martial arts, where the dominating force, the UFC, manages to keep the lion’s share of revenue for itself. UFC fighters are known to take home less than 20% of the promotion’s revenue annually.

As part of Tuesday’s announcement, league officials also revealed that “Ngannou will serve in a leadership role on the PFL Global Advisory Board, making him the first active fighter to serve on the board and represent fighters’ interests.” Francis will also be an equity owner in and Chairman of PFL Africa, as the league branches out towards global expansion.

“I am very excited for this game changing partnership with the Professional Fighters League to continue my MMA fighting career in the PFL’s PPV Super Fight Division,” said Francis Ngannou in Tuesday’s press release. “I believe in the PFL’s “fighter first” culture and global vision including developing the sport in Africa. With that, I am also proud to announce that I will serve as Chairman of PFL Africa which will be the leading MMA organization on the continent providing great African fighters the opportunity to compete on a global platform.”