Francis Ngannou if officially a free agent.
After heavy (and sometimes dirty) contract negotiations over the past two years, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has decided to release its undisputed Heavyweight champion. This is according to UFC President, Dana White, who announced the news during UFC Vegas 67’s post-fight press conference Saturday night (watch HERE).
“We are going to release [Francis Ngannou] from his contract. We are giving up the right to match. He can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants,” White said.
Ngannou — who captured the undisputed Heavyweight title with a knockout win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 back in 2021 — has been nursing a repaired knee following his one and only title defense over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. Fight fans were hopeful that Ngannou was able to get cleared to compete in early 2023 and settle a new contract with UFC, but clearly that didn’t happen.
“We offered Ngannou a deal that would make him the highest paid Heavyweight of all time. He turned it down,” added White.
It’s crazy to think that Ngannou would decline an offer to be the highest paid Heavyweight in UFC history, but it sounds like “Predator” was asking for a deal the promotion wasn’t willing to offer. The fallout is pretty shocking, especially considering Ngannou is one of the most devastating knockout artists of all time, a fighter who has won six-straight dating back to 2018, and the fact that he had a “super” fight opposite Jon Jones in his back pocket.
With Ngannou no longer part of the heavyweight division, his UFC title will be vacated. News leaked earlier today that Jones and Gane will collide for the vacant title at UFC 285 this March in Las Vegas. White confirmed that booking during UFC Vegas 67’s post-fight press conference as well.
We’ll have to wait and see where Ngannou lands and what sort of lucrative contract he receives.
For complete UFC Vegas 67 results and coverage click here.