The 35-year-old Ngannou, expected to face Cyril Gane at UFC 270, a fight that would unify the heavyweight division, has claimed he will not be fighting under his current contract any longer.
Dana White had previously told the UFC champion to leave if he remains unhappy with his current contract after being at loggerheads with Ngannou and his representatives on several occasions.
“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. These things happen. Sometimes you don’t always come to terms with people”
Francis Ngannou signed a five-year contract with the UFC in December 2017. The contract involves the completion of eight fights and UFC 270 represents the last fight on the contract. If he wins and retains the title, a champion’s clause would kick in that allows the UFC to extend his deal. Should Ngannou lose, he will become a free agent.
“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. Contractually, it means that I have executed the eight fights that were on my contract. And the championship clause, people don’t understand that in the contract, (it) is optional because it says if at the end of the contract if you’re the champion, you’re extended for three fights or one year. So that all made me think it’s optional.”-Ngannou said.
The constant expression of Ngannou’s discontent with his contractual terms fell on deaf ears and the champion has decided to call it to an end after his heavyweight bout with Cyril Gane.
“No, I will not fight for $500,000 [or] $600,000 anymore. It’s over. I took this fight for personal reasons because I want to make sure that regardless of [whether] it’s fair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights.”
The UFC heavyweight champion who declared his interest in taking on the WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, insists a boxing clause needs to be in the contract if he can agree to terms with the UFC.
“We’ve been having this (boxing) discussion for a year, and it seems like they were OK with it. 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. That’s not questionable. So yes, if I want to box, I would like the UFC to be involved.”
The Cameroon-born fighter is full of confidence ahead of his fight against the undefeated Cyril Gane and claims the accolades he achieved over time have been on merit. He and his camp believe the best is still out there for the heavyweight champion.
“Let’s make something very clear, the reason why I’m here is because I earned it. Nobody has given me anything. So I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I’m sure I will make it. I will keep making it. I’m want to win this fight, but if I lost, it’s fine. I don’t think that takes anything out of me as a man. I have done a lot as a man.
“Even if this was the end, well, I’ll say I did it. Not many people in their lifetime, even those who have better opportunities than I, can tell the same story as me. I’m happy where I am.”
In spite of the ongoing saga, Francis Ngannou remains fully focused on his fight against the interim UFC heavyweight champion on January 22. The rivalry between the two former teammates continues to intensify, making the fight even more exciting.
Is Ngannou’s decision to quit the UFC after leaving his legacy the right one? Do you think Ngannou’s decision is a result of mismanagement? Let us know!