Francis Ngannou and Dana White have been at odds for quite sometime now. The UFC heavyweight champion has not been happy with various things, including the frequency of which he is booked, his contract status, and the way the UFC negotiates.
Based on White’s latest comments, things between them haven’t improved yet.
“These things happen. Sometimes you don’t always come to terms with people,” White told ESPN, before taking yet another shot at Ngannou’s management team. “When you’re a fighter, you have to be careful who represents you. I don’t think he’s had the best representation.”
White and Ngannou’s manager have had heated arguments publicly in the past. Interestingly enough, Ngannou is represented by Creative Artist Agency (CAA), a massive Hollywood and sports agency, which also happens to be long term rivals with White’s bosses over at Endeavor.
White also claims that there’s “no problem” with him, if Ngannou doesn’t want to be with the UFC anymore.
“Look, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you. If you don’t want to be with us, no problem. It’s all good,” White claimed. “I think his contract, and this is off the top of my head, if he wins he still has time with us after this fight. He’d probably have one more fight.”
White’s words here contradict with the promotion’s actions though, and it doesn’t seem “all good” with them if Ngannou leaves. His original contract reportedly should’ve expired last May, but despite not signing a new deal, UFC has been extending it using controversial provisions in his contract.
Ngannou won the UFC heavyweight title in March of 2021. Just about three months after that though, and the UFC decided to book an interim heavyweight title, which Ciryl Gane now holds.
A title unification between Ngannou and Gane is currently booked for UFC 270 on January 22. It’ll be interesting to see not only who wins that intriguing match up, but also how Ngannou’s contract dispute plays out after that contest.