Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou did not re-sign with the promotion despite a protracted negotiation process that included the kitchen sink (but no boxing). As a result, “The Predator” hit the open market and found a new home with Professional Fighters League (PFL), where the Cameroonian power puncher will enjoy the freedom to pursue outside endeavors (as well as his own sponsorships).
UFC President Dana White said the PFL deal “made no sense” for the rival organization and sided with boxing superstar Anthony Joshua, who shot down any talk of a potential “gimmick” fight against Ngannou, similar to what UFC did with former lightweight champion Conor McGregor and boxing icon Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in summer 2017.
But White may not be the right person to be criticizing gimmicks.
“Gimmicks? I gotta light Dana up a little bit here,” former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub said on his YouTube show (transcribed by Fernando Quiles). “Dude, gimmicks? You own the slap fight league, and the numerics that you use to say it’s crushing these other leagues is TikTok. You’re 50 years old, dude. That’s a gimmick. Francis fighting Deontay Wilder, Francis fighting Anthony Joshua is not a gimmick because I’ll tell you right now, if Francis lands that right hand on them, they’re getting knocked out. That is not a gimmick. Francis can win those fights. Are the odds are he lands? No. That’s not a gimmick, though. That’s a real f***ing fight, dude. Don’t disrespect Francis.”
Disrespecting Francis is a time-honored tradition at UFC.
In addition to creating the widely-panned Power Slap League, which returns to the Rumble app this week from Fight Island, White and Co. have been teasing a ... (wait for it) ... gimmick fight between UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones and WBC boxing kingpin Tyson Fury, despite already showing fans how that fight ends back in 2010.
ThAt’S nOt WhAt I dO hErE.
Ngannou, 36, is not expected to make his PFL debut until mid-2024. In the interim, “The Predator” will continue to pursue a fight in the “sweet science.” It should be noted that Ngannou (17-3) is coming off major knee surgery and has not competed since a decision win over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 back in early 2022.