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Dana White shuts down Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou co-promotion talk: ‘It wouldn’t work’

Don’t get your hopes up that UFC and PFL might reach a deal to co-promote a “super” fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou.

UFC 270 Press Conference Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

It’s the one that got away.

Despite being in different organizations, a fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou would totally be possible given Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) are both broadcast under the same ESPN umbrella. Unfortunately, UFC President, Dana White, is adamant that a fight between the two Heavyweight greats, “wouldn’t work.”

During a recent interview with Pat McAffee, White shot down the idea of trying to put a fight together between his current (and former) Heavyweight champions.

“It wouldn’t work,” he declared. “Francis was here, Jon Jones wanted that fight the whole time. We tried to make the fight with Francis ... yeah.”

That’s a pretty broad statement to describe the complicated history that prevented Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou from happening under the UFC banner. Jones relinquished his Light Heavyweight title and left active competition for three years after UFC refused to renegotiate a move to Heavyweight where he could have faced “The Predator.” By the time he worked out a deal with the promotion, Ngannou was having his own problems with UFC brass.

Unhappy with the amount of fights he was getting and the restrictive terms of his contract, Ngannou decided to fight out his contract and leave UFC. But, even as he prepared to go, he offered to sign a one-fight deal with UFC to face Jones. UFC refused, Ngannou left the promotion, and now it looks we have another legendary fight that will never happen.

Ngannou fired back at White after his comments, boiling it down to one simple sentence.

“No Pat, Jonny was on vacation for 3 years while I sat there waiting,” he wrote.

It’s just the latest round of back-and-forths between White and Ngannou as UFC’s president continues to paint Ngannou as impossible to work with and unwilling to face “Bones.” He had similar words for Jones when he refused to fight as well. As always, it’s whatever narrative that suits UFC best that White will push. In this case, it’s that the guy he has under contract is the man, and the guy he doesn’t is a bum.

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