The recent contract dispute between Francis Ngannou and the UFC is well-documented, but the heavyweight champion has a few thoughts on how bridges between fighter and promotion may be repaired.
It’s clear at this point that the ‘Predator’ is unhappy with his current contract, which may be completed depending on the outcome of his title unifier against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 next weekend. Should Ngannou win, the champion’s clause kicks in and his deal extends for either one year or three more fights. Should he lose, the ‘Predator’ becomes a restricted free agent able to field offers from other promotions following a 90-day negotiating period with the UFC (and subject to a year long matching period).
Regardless of whatever outcome emerges, however, Ngannou believes its time to strike a new deal.
“Contractually, it is very hard to explain,” Ngannou told Brett Okamoto of ESPN. “The UFC contract is very tricky. 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 were on my contract. And the championship clause is, people don’t understand that in the contract, [it] is optional because it says if at the end of this contract, if you are the champion, you’re extended for three fights or one year. So that all made me think it’s optional.”
Not only is Ngannou looking for a pay increase, this time around, but also a special clause that would allow him to take fights in the boxing ring as well. The 35-year-old has regularly expressed interest in moving over to professional boxing, where he would like to compete against names such as Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury before he retires.
Fury has been the most receptive to the idea, with the two-time heavyweight champion proposing a ‘Clash of the Titans’ fight with the UFC champ on social media. Whether that happens has yet to be seen, but if it does, then Ngannou would want the UFC behind him for the crossover event.
“No, I will not fight for $500,000, $600,000 anymore,” said Ngannou. “I mean, it’s over. It’s over. I just did this. I took this fight for a personal reason, and because I want to make sure that regardless, even if it’s unfair, I have been wrongly treated, I can make my case to say that I have completed the eight fights. But no.
“We’ve been having this [boxing] discussion for a year, and it seems like they were OK with it,” continued Ngannou. “Let’s be honest. I still believe that whatever you’re doing, whatever the event is, whether it’s boxing, when the UFC is involved, it’s just going to make it bigger. There is no question. So yes, if I want to box, I would like the UFC to be involved.”
Contract negotiations have not resumed, but Xtreme Couture talent and his team hope to come to terms with the UFC soon.