UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is supposedly down to the last fight in his current contract. That should be his maiden title defense in a unification title bout against interim champion Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on January 22, but his champion’s clause and various extensions the UFC implements make things a bit trickier for him.
“The Predator” will have to weigh his choices soon, but as of right now, signing a contract extension isn’t part of his list of options.
“They’ve been trying to apply pressure with those extensions, but I did not sign a new deal,” Ngannou told Ariel Helwani in a recent guesting on The MMA Hour. “And I think that’s basically the issue. That’s what’s causing all these issues because I don’t want to sign a new deal on certain terms. It doesn’t work for me because I don’t feel protected in those terms.
“In the past two years, I fought twice, and then I have to borrow money to leave. Nobody cares about it. I have no guarantee in that deal. And I have no quotation. So, based on that experience, I want to get something better. Better terms on my contract, and obviously, (get paid) what I deserve.”
Ngannou has been vocal about his issues on fighter pay, and it’s something that continues to bother him deeply. So much so that he’s already finding a way to make a clean break and venture into a more lucrative prizefighting venture.
“I feel like I shouldn’t need to borrow money for my training camp. At some point, I’m gonna go after those (boxing) money,” he said. “I’m gonna go do that boxing. That’s for sure.”
He also makes it clear that he wants a fair contract with an actual end date, not the one he’s on where the UFC can keep extending.
“According to what is said, I’m an Independent Contractor. So what I want, I want a contract with a possible (termination) date, so after that, I’ll do whatever I want.
“That’s what it says, Independent Contractor, with a possible termination date. Then after that, you are free, right? Then you have a right from there to decide again where you’re going and what you’re gonna do. You don’t have to be forced to keep signing or to stay in the (same) contract. Then that’s not being an Independent Contractor.”
Ultimately, Ngannou prefers to remain signed with the most prominent MMA organization in the world. But if things won’t pan out for him, he also won’t force the issue.
“Obviously, I get frustrated about everything going on. But honestly, I want to stay in the UFC. I hope we’re gonna get in the point, but in the meantime, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. What can I do?”
Ngannou last fought at UFC 260 in March, when he knocked out Stipe Miocic to become the undisputed heavyweight king.
The issue Ngannou brought up is exactly what some fighters are currently trying to fight for in the class-action lawsuit against the UFC. For more details on the heavyweight champion’s contract status, you can read it below: