Francis Ngannou has reportedly cut ties with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC. UFC President Dana White said the company offered to make Ngannou the “highest-paid heavyweight in the history of the company,” but he turned it down.
“I’ve told you guys this before — if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be,” White said, per ESPN.
“I think Francis is in a place right now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risk. He feels like he’s in a good position where he could fight lesser opponents and make more money. We’re going to let him do that, release him from his contract and give up our right to match.”
Ngannou did not directly respond to White’s comments, but his agent, Eric Nicksick, did address the UFC President’s remarks. From his viewpoint, the former heavyweight champion did not turn down the deal due to financial desires. Rather, Ngannou was not satisfied with the terms of the deal.
“The money was there, and that’s not what moves him. It wasn’t the money that was moving him, it was other things, other terms – some sticking points that he just couldn’t wave around,” Nicksick said, per The Schmo.
“I think that’s something that was definitely a sticking point for him – that he wanted the opportunity to be able to box. I think the definition of ‘independent contractor’ and ’employee’ was something he just wasn’t comfortable with. He waned the opportunity that if somebody came along and was a higher bidder, he wanted to be able to take that opportunity.”
Ngannou will look the potential opportunities in boxing or mixed martial arts endeavors with MMA promotions like the PFL, Bellator or BKFC. Meanwhile, Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane will fight for the heavyweight title he recently vacated.