Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Dana White Provides Positive Update On Francis Ngannou Negotiations

UFC President Dana White has provided a positive update on his promotion’s ongoing negotiations with heavyweight titleholder Francis Ngannou.

As Ngannou gears up for his return to the Octagon on January 22, much of the build-up so far has surrounded his fractious relationship with the UFC and his uncertain future. Despite holding the heavyweight gold and being widely regarded as the biggest power-puncher in MMA, “The Predator” and his management team believe he’s been underappreciated by the UFC.

Since reaching the divisional mountaintop at UFC 260 with a brutal knockout of Stipe Miocic, Ngannou has been out of action and voicing his displeasure in interviews and on social media.

From his frustration at the creation of an interim title in August, which came in spite of his availability a month later, to his dissatisfaction with his current contractual situation, it’s clear all is not well between the UFC and one of its top champs.

But it appears tensions may be fading and progress may be on the up. During a recent appearance on THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas, Dana White revealed he’d spoken with Ngannou while out for dinner, a conversation he described as a “good talk.”

“Francis and I bumped into each other the other night at dinner. We had a good talk. And he’s not out of contract if he wins that fight (vs. Gane). I think he’s got one more fight with us after that… I think that Francis and I had a good conversation.”

Judging by his comments, it’s clear White has no issue with Ngannou and believes the real problem lies with the advice he’s been receiving. Doubling down on his criticism of the Cameroonian’s representation, White suggested the reigning titleholder had been led astray by individuals who simply don’t know what they’re doing.

“I think Francis has been misguided, too, by some people that aren’t very bright. That doesn’t help either; when you’ve got some people behind you that have no f*cking clue what they’re talking about. It doesn’t help the situation.”

Nevertheless, White reiterated a sentiment he’s consistently shared. After taking a dig at the fighter pay “narrative,” the UFC kingpin suggested if an athlete doesn’t want to be a part of the promotion, they can decide to leave.

“Listen, I say it all the time, man, this sport’s fun for me, I love doing this. Contrary to the narrative out there, we’ve made a lot of people very wealthy. If you don’t wanna be here, if this is not where you wanna be, well that’s not fun for you and it’s definitely not fun for me, either. These are all grown men and women, and everyone has to make their own decisions in life.”

Ngannou Will Look To Push Contractual Issues Aside At UFC 270

Despite the ongoing negotiations and talk about his future, which could seemingly see him enter free agency with a defeat in his next outing, Francis Ngannou will need to switch his focus to one thing and one thing only: Ciryl Gane.

After the controversial interim belt was created, Gane, a former teammate of “The Predator” at Paris’ MMA Factory gym, took full advantage. After main event wins against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov, “Bon Gamin” was the clear choice to join Derrick Lewis in the UFC 265 main event.

By dominating and finishing “The Black Beast,” Gane had gold wrapped around his waist as an undefeated fighter and set up a collision course with Ngannou. The pair will now meet for a blockbuster unification bout in the first pay-per-view headliner of 2022.

Who do you think will leave UFC 270 as the undisputed heavyweight champ, Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane?

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