Dana White’s been in the news a lot following lengthy interviews with Tony Robbins and FOX News. Not only did he claim the UFC’s value has gone up from $4 billion to $7 billion since selling to Endeavor (formerly known as WME-IMG) in 2016, he also addressed criticism that he buries his own fighters too often. You know, like when he went from “Francis Ngannou could be our next global rockstar” to “Francis Ngannou’s ego is out of control.”
For the record, White backed up his s**t talk, saying most of the fighters he trashes deserved it. And interestingly enough, Francis Ngannou’s head coach Fernand Lopez agrees.
”The only thing I can say is Dana was speaking about Francis’ ego is probably one of the truths that I witnessed that Dana White said,” Lopez told the MMANews.pl radio show (via MMANYTT). “It’s probably the only truth that I know for a fact. That’s a fact.”
”Why am I saying that? I’m saying that because Ngannou is like a brother for me and when you’re dealing with a brother, problems with your brother, you have to be honest with your brother so he can be a better man.”
”In order to make Francis a better man, there are some people that have to have the bad role,” he continued. “The bad job is to tell Ngannou ‘You have a big ego and you have changed with the time.’ That’s the truth. I had the conversation with Ngannou and I said to him ‘You have changed my friend, you have changed. You’re not the same anymore. Your ego is killing you and it’s just about your ego.’ That’s the thing like.”
Those hoping for specific examples of Ngannou’s out of control ego are probably going to be disappointed. The best concrete evidence Lopez shared was how Francis didn’t follow their gameplan against Stipe Miocic and then started training with Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. Sour grapes? You read and decide for yourself.
“Myself I got hurt with a lot of dedication to Francis’ career, I got hurt, a lot. When Francis lost the fight with Stipe, no one ever heard Francis say he lost because he didn’t follow the gameplan. He did the opposite of the gameplan that we worked. That loss for Francis, for the belt, had a huge impact for him, but also myself and my gym. Francis being world champion means that I’m a champion coach and that means the MMA Factory is a champion training camp. We missed that because he did not follow the gameplan. He followed the gameplans until the title shot and then the next fight (against Lewis) he was in Syndicate MMA.”
“When all these people are saying what a bad coach I am, it would’ve been nice for Francis to back me up and say ‘No guys, this guy did his job, this guy tried to help me with the best gameplan that he could and he gave me the thing that I should do and I didn’t do that,” Lopez continued. “Instead of saying that he just stayed quiet and people were killing us saying how stupid could I be to just keep training Francis on the feet and not on the wrestling and not the ground game.”
This does not sound like a coach and fighter that are on the same page. Will Ngannou still be a part of Lopez’s MMA Factory for his next fight, rumored to be against Curtis Blaydes in Beijing on November 24th? It may take a few more brother to brother talks to iron that out, and a bit less ego on both sides.