Former UFC heavyweight champion and new PFL-signee Francis Ngannou has never been shy about going public with what’s been going on between the UFC, Dana White, and himself in recent months.
At the post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 73 on Saturday night White told the media how he felt about Ngannou’s deal with PFL.
“Based on what I know about the deal, which is not much, it makes no sense to me,” White told reporters.
“You’re going to pay a guy not to fight for a year. And it’s already been like 18 months. He’s fought three times in the last three years. It’s just not what we do here. It’s not what we do.”
White went on to suggest that Ngannou did not want to chance losing to now heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the octagon.
“The day that we released him, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Francis wants to take zero risk. He doesn’t want to take any chances. He obviously didn’t want to take a chance against Jon Jones,” said White.
White took it a step further and suggested the outcome of Jones vs. Ciryl Gane affected Ngannou’s decision.
“After what happened with Ciryl Gane, I don’t blame him. I think the outcome would have been exactly the same, and I’m sure most of you do, and I think Francis does too,” White said.
Ngannou didn’t take the criticism sitting down. The former UFC champion took to twitter to fire back at his former boss.
What is your problem with me?
1. I completed my contract, was a free agent, and chose to walk away. you didn’t release me
2. I hate taking risks? that’s why I defended my title to fulfill my contract with no acl or mcl?
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) May 21, 2023
“What is your problem with me?,” Ngannou tweets to begin his thread.
“1. I complete my contract, was a free agent, and chose to walk away. you didn’t release me,” he continued.
The negotiation saga if you will between the UFC and Ngannou was well publicized when it began. It ended up being a very long courtship that ended with Ngannou walking away.
“2. I hate taking risks? that’s why I defended my title to fulfill my contract with no acl or mcl,” said Ngannou.
Following his victory over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in Jan 2022 Ngannou revealed that he was dealing with a knee injury before and during the fight. In the fight he employed a wrestling-heavy game plan and earned the unanimous decision victory.
“3. The reason I fought three times in three years is because you wanted to control my deal and signs a new one. And freeze me out. “I owe these guys three fights a year.” Isn’t that what you say? What happened? I always asked for & never said no to any fight in the 3 years,” continued Ngannou.
The former champ fought Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 2020, Stipe Miocic in 2021, and Gane in 2022. There’s not much clarity on how many fights Ngannou was offered in the span of those three years, but it seems as though that didn’t happen for him, going off his tweets.
“I’m finally getting paid and respected, and have a deal that’s fair and equal for all parties. Why are you so against me being free and happy,” Ngannou finished the thread.
White likely isn’t happy to have lost out on a major bout between Ngannou and Jones. It’s to be seen if White will continue to talk about the deal with the media or move on.