Francis Ngannou’s Coach Lends Insight Into UFC Split

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou‘s head coach, Eric Nicksick, has given his side to what led to Ngannou’s UFC release.

The MMA community was shocked when news of Ngannou’s release from the UFC broke on Saturday. It was the endpoint of a contract dispute with the UFC that lasted since Ngannou earned the belt at UFC 260 over Stipe Miocic.

Ngannou now has the freedom to negotiate a possible boxing match against Tyson Fury and an MMA return in another promotion. The major players, including Bellator and the PFL, are expected to make a run at the now-former UFC heavyweight champ.

Despite receiving allegedly the most lucrative contract offer in UFC heavyweight history, Ngannou decided to stick to his stance and turned it down. He’s been critical of the lack of flexibility that fighters are given in their contracts, including opportunities to box.

Nicksick, who has cornered Ngannou during some of his biggest UFC moments, feels Ngannou deserves credit for not budging in his desires for change.

Eric Nicksick: Francis Ngannou Deserves Credit For Sticking To His Morals

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During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Nicksick weighed in on Ngannou’s wild end to his UFC tenure.

“He fought the next up-and-coming Ciryl Gane, the phenom, on one fucking leg,” Nicksick said of Ngannou. “Against all of our advice. You mean to tell me that Francis is scared? He’s not scared of anybody. He’s doing what he feels was right for him.

“We met with Dana, and Hunter, after [UFC 270] and had a great dinner. Things were going in the right direction, I felt. Got in the car, and Francis looks over at me and says ‘If I sign this deal, without making any chance, without doing all of the things I said I was gonna do, I’m a sellout. And I refuse to do that…I have a stance where I can make a difference.'”

Many, including Jake Paul, have praised Ngannou’s stance against the mistreatment of fighters. Paul has also been critical of the UFC’s pay model and more specifically, UFC President Dana White.

While Ngannou won’t face the competition level he did in the UFC, he’s not backing down from his hard-nosed stance. He’s expected to be rewarded with the freedom to explore multiple options in his career.

Ngannou will appear in a special edition of The MMA Hour on Tuesday. We’ll provide you with the latest news regarding his first comments since his release.

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