Francis Ngannou’s relationship with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) higher-ups has been up and down over the years, which isn’t anything new when it comes to fighter and promoter relationships.
But, as the Heavyweight champion gears up to face Ciryl Gane in a title unification bout in the main event of UFC 270 on Jan. 22, 2022, “The Predator” needs to start thinking about his long-term future with the promotion. That’s because his contract is nearly up and there doesn’t seem to be an extension happening anytime soon.
That’s according to UFC President, Dana White, who says unfortunately, “these things happen in MMA.”
“These things happen. Sometimes you don’t always come to terms with people. When you’re a fighter, you have to be careful who represents you,” he explained during a recent interview with ESPN.
According to White, part of the reason the two sides haven't always seen eye-to-eye or reached another deal is because of poor management on “The Predator’s” side. At the end of day, White says it’s all about business and if Ngannou doesn’t want to do business with him or UFC, then so be it.
“I don’t think he’s had the best representation. Look, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you. If you don’t want to be with us, no problem. It’s all good,” he added. “I think his contract, and this is off the top of my head, if he wins he still has time with us after this fight. He’d probably have one more fight.”
The promotion will be plenty busy in 2022 trying to lock down some of its top stars because Nate Diaz is also on the final fight of his current deal and hasn’t signed an extension with the promotion.
As for Ngannou, the end result of his title unification bout against Gane will likely be a big factor in what he decides to do moving forward. That’s because he could get his long-desired title fight against former Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.
As long as the money is right, of course.