Randy Couture hails Francis Ngannou’s decision to stand his ground in contract negotiations with the UFC
Since Francis Ngannou and the UFC were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract while he was still heavyweight champion, he has severed all connections with the promotion. Dana White, president of the UFC, claims that the company offered Ngannou a contract that would have made him the most paid heavyweight in the history of the sport. However, for the 36-year-old Cameroonian fighter, it wasn’t all about the money.
Ngannou has been vocal about his desire for increased creative control in future contracts, claiming that he felt as though the UFC was instructing him to accept the money and keep quiet at various points during negotiations. Ngannou claims that he proposed fighter health insurance and requested an advocate to participate in on future contract discussions as a fighter representative against the promotion during the same contract talks.
Randy Couture had learned from experience that the UFC wouldn’t budge on some points, but despite pressure, Francis Ngannou refused to sign a new contract with the same terms as his previous one.
As far back as 2007 and 2008, when Couture tried to quit the UFC and set up a fight with fellow heavyweight icon Fedor Emelianenko, he was reportedly at odds with the promotion over his contract. After reportedly spending $500,000 on legal fees, Couture settled with the UFC and signed a new multi-fight agreement to return to the promotion.
Addressing Ngannou’s exit in a recent interview on The MMA Hour on MMA Fighting, Couture stated:
“Francis is probably the closest to a top tier, marquee fighter that was literally holding the belt in the heavyweight division and put that on the line to make a statement. I’m proud of him for what he’s done. Hopefully, more fighters step up….I think what Francis is doing is natural, it’s indigenous to the issues in the sport as we suffer through these growing pains as becoming the fastest growing global sport in our society right now.”
“They don’t want to give up those things. They want to be able to control the fighters the way they want to control them. They don’t like that transparency. They keep those numbers pretty close to their vest so they don’t have to negotiate with fighters who know what their value is in the market place, that’s how that shakes out.”
UFC featherweight contender Arnold Allen wonders how Francis Ngannou will fare in a bare knuckle fight
Francis Ngannou has been embroiled in a protracted contract dispute with the UFC and its president, Dana White, as he seeks a new deal with significantly higher compensation. The Cameroonian star held the UFC heavyweight championship but was eyeing lucrative boxing bouts against Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury, among others.
It was announced that Ngannou had officially left the UFC after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, effectively relinquishing his heavyweight title. It is now anticipated that he will receive a multitude of offers from rival promotions, including the PFL and Bellator, who have both declared their intent to sign him.
Since entering the international combat sports scene in 2018, BKFC has signed numerous notable UFC athletes, including Diego Sanchez, Ben Rothwell, Paige VanZant, and Mike Perry. In addition, it has welcomed fighters to compete in one-offs, including Bellator welterweight contender Michael Page and former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi. Feldman has expressed interest in signing current free agent Nate Diaz in recent months.
David Feldman, president of BKFC, has expressed optimism that Ngannou will grace the squared circle under their banner this year. The promotion is expectedto submit a proposal for his services, and fans can expect to see him in the BKFC squared circle in 2023.
Ngannou has expressed multiple times his desire to pursue a career in the boxing ring, and has even asked for a clause to be added to any new UFC contract so he can negotiate fight deals in the sport. Ngannou is now required to consider his options in light of his uncertain future, which is unlikely to be resolved quickly.
Weighing in on the latest developments on Twitter, Arnold Allen wrote:
“Imagine Francis Ngannou bare knuckle 😅 10oz gloves is a scary thought as well actually, f**k that.”
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