Francis Ngannou was on the Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson show, and it was really cool getting to see the new UFC Heavyweight champion connecting with a legend like Tyson. Even better was watching a high “Iron Mike” hitting Ngannou with questions about his pay and not so subtly insisting he needs to be making WAY more money.
Of course, the topic of Jon Jones also came up. A fight between Jones and Ngannou would be the biggest Heavyweight scrap in the history of UFC. But the promotion and Jones are so far apart on payment that it’s basically been declared a non-starter for now.
“Everybody in this position would like to have compensation,” Ngannou explained to Tyson. “A guy like Jones, he’s been around for very long, and has been helping this sport and this company grow. So yeah, I think there’s nothing wrong about that, but once again I don’t know what the deal is. I would like that fight to happen. That would definitely be the No. 1 fight: Jon Jones. Jon Jones definitely. But at this point we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“I think it’s going to happen,” Tyson responded. “It’d be ludicrous if it doesn’t happen. This fight, it all goes down to money right now. How can they do this, they both under contract. Do they do it under UFC or they do it under — you know, what do you do, how do you do this? This guy [Jones] said $10 million ain’t nothing ... What does he say to $20, $25? That’s still ... for a big fight like that, he could say maybe that’s nothing.”
Did Tyson just suggest Jones and Ngannou fight outside of UFC? It’s not as crazy of an idea as it may seem. When Conor McGregor was strong arming UFC into allowing the Floyd Mayweather bout, he suggested the Ali Act would allow him to do the fight without them, if he had to. And it’s true that the bill is designed to stop promoters from keeping boxers from these big money fights.
Just to put a bit more perspective on big fight numbers, Tyson shared some of his own:
“Every time before I’d fight a big fight, I’d fight two guys and make $10 million, $20 million, before you fight a guy for that $160 million purse, you know?” he said. “I always want to put some in the bank before going for the big risk.”
“Francis, how are you with money?” he added. “You like giving money to women?”
“Let’s see when I have money,” Ngannou replied.
“You have enough to throw around now.”
“No,” Ngannou replied. “We are not doing the same thing, the same business.”
“In a situation like that, you have to make your own — listen, a guy like you, know what a guy like this can do?” Tyson asked. “He can make his own organization. I’m doing it.”
Tyson laid out the plans for his Legends Only League.
“I want Holyfield and I want Lennox Lewis this year,” he said. “I want both of them, I think I can get em both this year ... else if I box an exhibition with Tyson Fury. If I do that — even if I can get those two guys, I’ll say this is a wrap, I can go and live my life. And that’s just exhibitions. I’m going to break all my true records with exhibitions.”