UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou vacated his title and left the UFC just a few days ago after opting not to sign a new deal with the promotion, and now he’s explained why he came to that decision.
Ngannou spoke about his reasoning in a video posted on his YouTube channel which you can watch below, while he also appeared on Ariel Helwani’s ‘The MMA Hour’ show to discuss the situation there too.
“I guess money was a part of it but it wasn’t all about money,” Ngannou told Helwani. “They don’t talk about what the negotiation was about. They just talked about the money to make it the biggest heavyweight contract in history, they control the narrative, but I wish it could have worked out. It was a three-fight deal, I asked for the three but no extension. One was Jon Jones, Stipe then a rematch with Jon Jones.”
Ngannou also stated that sponsorship rights and health care were two of his other main aspects of his negotiations with the UFC that left the two parties failing to see eye-to-eye on that three-fight deal.
“I asked for sponsorship rights which we have been ripped off and we can’t have sponsorship. I asked for health insurance and I asked for someone in the board meeting who can advocate for the fighters. I cannot have those things that I asked for, but I wanted to know they are things I do want and take them into consideration.
“They said, ‘no, we don’t do business like that’. They said I can pay my health insurance, but I said how about those guys who are at the bottom? It is something that I still carried in my heart. I was asking it for everyone. I knew it couldn’t happen but I asked, yes. But even the money wasn’t that okay.”
While Dana White has suggested that Ngannou purposefully avoided coming to terms with the UFC due to not wanting to avoid the likes of Jon Jones and instead take on “lesser opponents” elsewhere, ‘The Predator’ has claimed that’s far from the case given what he has in mind next.
“I don’t know where Dana got this from,” Ngannou said of White.
“In the perfect world I go out there in a boxing match and come back to MMA. If I get the opportunity to fight all those tough guys [Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua] in boxing, I would take it.
“The latest [I will fight] will be July. My gut, I would say pro boxing [is next]. I’m working on it right now.”