Dana White & The UFC Bid Farewell To Francis Ngannou

The ongoing saga of Francis Ngannou‘s contract status with the UFC has reached its conclusion.

For over a year now, Francis Ngannou’s UFC contract status has been one of the hottest topics in MMA, with speculation abound on if he’d remain with the promotion and face Jon Jones in a megafight for the ages. Now, it appears that he may not compete in the UFC ever again.

Dana White Sheds Light On Francis Ngannou’s Free-Agent Status

Francis Ngannou Dana White
Image Credit: MMA Weekly

At the UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference, Dana White addressed Ngannou’s status with the promotion, or total lack thereof, after Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane became public.

“We’ve been working on a new agreement for Francis for like two years now. And we had gotten to a point where he was gonna fight Jon Jones and many who believe, including me, that he’s the best of all time, for the heavyweight championship. And Jon Jones has been willing, and ready, and able to fight anybody. He didn’t care who it was. Could’ve been anybody in the heavyweight division. He was ready to go. 

“We offered Francis a deal that would’ve made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the company. More than [Brock] Lesnar, more than anybody. And he turned the deal down.

“So, we get to this point — I’ve told you guys before. If you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be here. I think Francis is in a place right now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risks. He feels like he’s in a good position where he could fight lesser opponents and make more money. 

“So we’re going to let him do that. We’re going to release him from his contract. We’re going to give up our right to match. And he can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants.”

White went on to also opine that Ngannou didn’t really believe the Jon Jones fight would really happen, which does gibe with past remarks made by the Cameroonian. White also believes that Ngannou may have some lingering concerns about his knee post-surgery, especially given that, as White put it, the 36-year-old ‘is not getting any younger.’

White’s theory on Ngannou’s opponent preference echo words stated in the past regarding Cris Cyborg when the promotion failed to come to terms with the current Bellator champion for a rematch with Amanda Nunes. It’s unclear if Ngannou expressed this preference to the UFC brass or if this is strictly White’s theory on the matter.

In any event, these remarks seem to drive a stake through the heart of one of the most desired fights in UFC history: Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou.

Instead, Jon Jones will headline UFC 285 opposite Ciryl Gane for the undisputed heavyweight championship. And what’s next for the now-former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou? Only time — and especially MMA News — will tell.

What is your reaction to the apparent finale of Francis Ngannou’s UFC tenure?

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