Francis Ngannou has revealed what was said in his recent conversation with Dana White and also clarified his contract status with the UFC if he defeats Ciryl Gane next weekend.
As we approach the fight week for arguably one of the most anticipated heavyweight showdowns in UFC history, there is somehow a storyline attached to the bout with a public interest level right on par with that of the fight itself: Will this be Francis Ngannou’s final fight in the UFC?
That question goes beyond the natural ponderings that manifest whenever a fighter approaches the final fight on their contract. What makes this situation particularly unique is the fact that Ngannou is still a reigning UFC champion. So the urgency for the UFC to get a deal done would seem immense, lest they permit the possibility of a fighter exiting the promotion while still holding a title.
Surely, it was this realization that helped inspire Dana White to meet with Ngannou for the first time in what Ngannou claims has been nearly four years. White briefly addressed the dinner meeting between the two recently, stating that the talk went well and that Ngannou simply needs to surround himself with better advisors.
Speaking with ESPN Thursday, Ngannou shared more intimate details of their conversation.
“It went pretty well,” Ngannou said about the meeting. “At this point, I’m not upset. I’m kind of chill about everything. And I went to him…we wished each other happy holidays, and I tell him my frustration. I expressed to him how I would like to stay in the UFC, but I don’t feel like the UFC still want me to stay. So I don’t feel (I’ve been) promoted anymore….I mean, maybe I’m wrong about that, but I didn’t see anything compared to what happened to different fighters.”
When asked what Dana White said in response to this observation, Ngannou praised the UFC boss for being quick on his feet.
“He bring up something really fast, and that’s why you know that Dana is very good,” Ngannou said with a smile. “He tell me like, ‘Yeah, we want you. Have you ever wanted to go somewhere and we didn’t take care of you?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I think it’s a little more than that.’”
Ngannou Clarifies Contract Status, Won’t Fight Again On Current Deal
Ngannou did not suggest there was any resolution at the end of their discussion, which means that there remains the question of what happens if he wins next Saturday? Would he be obligated to remain under contract with the promotion indefinitely as a reigning champion? Would he be obligated to fight one more time or until he loses the title?
According to Ngannou, neither of those options is true, but the Cameroonian did provide the two options that he says are present in the contract.
“Contractually, it’s really hard to explain. The UFC contract is very tricky. And they have this string. They can pull the string from anyhow. And that’s why you sign a 40-month contract and you find yourself after four years still dealing with that, even though you have been active and everything. Contractually, that means I have executed the eight fights that was on my contract…
“And the championship clause is (optional) because it says if at the end of this contract you’re a champion, you’re extended for three fights or one year.”
Because Ngannou signed his current deal in December 2017, the one-year extension to his four-year deal would mean he would become a free agent in December of this year without any contractual obligation to fight again in the interim. In fact, Ngannou says that we most certainly would not see him compete again under his current deal, regardless of what happens next Saturday.
“I would not fight for $500,000 or $600,000 anymore,” Ngannou declared. “I mean, it’s over. It’s over.”
How do you predict this contract saga between Francis Ngannou and the UFC will play out?