There’s been little in the way of positive news when it comes to current Heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) working out their differences and getting a new deal done. Ngannou currently has one fight left on his contract, and that takes place at UFC 270 on Jan. 22, 2021, against his former teammate, Ciryl Gane.
Should Ngannou lose, he can walk away from UFC free and clear. If he wins, UFC’s champion clause kicks in, and company president, Dana White, says he wants one more fight out of the Cameroonian fighter. Past versions of UFC contracts we’ve seen don’t have a limit on how many fights a champion can be forced to stay on for. But then again, indefinite contracts are kinda sorta extremely illegal, and Ngannou’s manager, Marquel Martin of mega-agency CAA, doesn’t seem the type to let that slide.
It all adds up to big uncertainty. But, it seems certain to us that Ngannou is going be gone from UFC as soon as contractually possible.
In a recent interview on Miesha Tate’s Sirius XM show, Martin implied it’s not all about the money, but if a man can get $10+ million fighting outside UFC, then he’d be foolish not to take it. And if UFC isn’t willing to pay that $10+ million ever because it sets a precedent, then where do you go from there?
“[The UFC] can’t put themselves in a situation to establish a precedent that negatively reflects [for] them, so that’s kind of the rub,” Martin said. “If they had an offer that made sense for them and for Francis, we’re open to entertain it. They’ve made it pretty clear where they’re at, so it’s an unfortunate, and I hate to say this, but it feels like a standoff.”
Ngannou himself is already starting to angle for those big boxing paydays. He actually started out boxing before finding a home at the MMA Factory in Paris, France.
“It’s always been down the line,” Ngannou said in an interview with TMZ Sports. “This is something that, I’m not taking my eyes off it. This is going to happen either way, and even if I stay — even if or when the UFC and I, we finally, we finalize a deal, the boxing part has to be into it, because I can’t see myself to retire without boxing.”
“Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder — I would like to test myself to their level,” Ngannou continued. “It’s not the same sport, but although I’m the champion, so I’m in the top in this division, and at the end of the day, it’s just about throwing hands, throwing punches, having a good delivery system to throw those bombs. And I’m sure that if I deliver my own punches pretty good, I can make damage.”
While we’re getting pretty sick of seeing MMA fighters jump over to boxing where their skills are significantly nerfed, it’s hard not to understand when it means an extra zero gets added to their paychecks.