Will contract dispute hurt Francis Ngannou at UFC 270?

    The first UFC pay-per-view of the year has massive consequences for the organizationโ€™s reigning heavyweight champion.

    Francis Ngannou, who will look to unify his belt with interim titleholder Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270 on Jan. 22 in Anaheim, Calif., enters the event at a curious impasse with the UFC brass when it comes to his contract status.

    According to the championโ€™s management, as well as UFC president Dana White, Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) will complete his current contract if he fails to defeat Gane (10-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) in the bout. If he wins, the deal extends for one more that would likely need to be completed in 2022 before the fighter could enter free agency.

    Itโ€™s the highest of stakes for Ngannou, who can make some serious demands if he beats Gane. Should be fall short, much of his existing leverage will fizzle.

    The circumstances entering UFC 270 are unique, but will Ngannou be able to compartmentalize the business side of his career and handle his assignment inside the cage on fight night? Or is this situation perhaps too great of a burden?

    That was a point of discussion on the latest episode of โ€œSpinning Back Clique,โ€ with host John Morgan and panelists Mike Bohn, Brian Garcia and Nolan King.

    Watch the debate in the video above, or check out the complete episode below.

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