The last offering from UFC president Dana White concerning the contract situation of heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou didn’t sound promising. With that being said, the relationship between the UFC and the “baddest man on the planet” might be worse than it seemed last week — and it wasn’t good then.
Speaking to ESPN, the UFC boss said, “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. 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.”
If that “we’d love to have you” part of that statement is true, one would hope the UFC and Ngannou are in active negotiations to extend the fighter’s contract. According to Ngannou’s representative, Marquel Martin of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), that’s not the case.
“From the beginning, we’ve always and still do remain, like, open to negotiating with UFC,” Martin said on Sirius XM’s “Throwing Down with Renee and Miesha.” “Even from my standpoint and his representation’s standpoint, UFC is the best MMA promoter in the game, in the business. However, where a lot of people don’t want to come out and say or mean is that it has to make sense for the client. It has to make sense for Francis.
“At the end of the day, I work for Francis, and he and I spent a lot of time chatting back and forth and trying to understand, OK, exactly what does that mean for his future, and we’ve had a lot of back and forth with the UFC. But to be honest with you, I haven’t heard back from the UFC since, I want to say June.”
“Pretty much we all know that UFC, they hold a power position, rightfully so, and when it comes to representation like myself, and again, of course, I’m going to be biased, they’re not going to like what we have to say about how Francis’ future looks like and what that is valued at,” Martin added. “So because of that, they’ve decided not to reach out. So I’m not sure if they want to negotiate a contract before [it runs out] or whatnot, but that’s totally up to them.”
Ngannou won the UFC heavyweight title in March via a second-round knockout of Stipe Miocic. He hasn’t fought since that victory. Ngannou is scheduled to face interim champion Ciryl Gane in January in a title unification bout at UFC 270, which is scheduled to take place on January 22, 2022 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Gane captured the interim title in August when he defeated Derrick Lewis via TKO in the third round.