UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s relationship with former coach Fernand Lopez got so bad that a psychiatrist warned him to stay away.
Ngannou is set to face his former MMA Factory teammate, Ciryl Gane for the UFC unified heavyweight title at UFC 270. The two fighters appear to be cordial with one another, but Ngannou has a strained history with Lopez, who now trains Gane.
Ngannou was allegedly kicked out of the gym by Lopez for failing to pay training fees, allegations that Ngannou has denied. But during a recent interview with Megan Olivi, Ngannou revealed that things got even worse than most had realized.
“At some point, I thought we were okay,” Ngannou said. “Because even when I was in Vegas, I was friendly and connected to him. That’s why sometimes I will ask him to come to my corner even though I wasn’t in his gym anymore. You know just as a friend. Obviously, that wasn’t enough. So many things was on his mind. And I couldn’t bring a solution to that. I always knew something like this might come from him. I was in Paris three years ago after the Derrick Lewis fight. I was dealing with some personal stuff on my end. I decided to see a psychiatrist. It’s funny because even three years ago she pointed out that Fernand was a problem so watch out. I thought she was crazy. But she started breaking it down and putting it in the notes. Now, I think she was all right.” (h/t SportsKeeda)
Fernand Lopez Has Attacked Francis Ngannou’s Character In Recent Interviews
Lopez had made the rounds in the media, including an exclusive interview with LowKickMMA just days ago. He has called Ngannou a liar for denying that he attempted to stop the UFC from signing Gane when he was still developing his MMA skillset.
Ngannou is looking forward to putting everything to bed with his first title defense at UFC 270. If he’s able to defeat Gane, he may be able to silence Lopez and his former team for good.
What are your thoughts on the Francis Ngannou/Fernand Lopez tension?