Demetrious Johnson shuts down UFC’s narrative that Francis Ngannou wanted to pursue easier opportunities
Francis Ngannou has cut all ties with the UFC because he and the company were unable to agree on a new contract while he was still the heavyweight champion. Dana White, president of the UFC, has stated that the company offered Francis Ngannou a contract that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in MMA history. The Cameroonian fighter, who was 36 years old, had other motivations besides money.
The UFC has been trying to propagate the notion that Ngannou wanted to leave the UFC to chase easier fights. Additionally, Jon Jones fans have been claiming that Ngannou avoided a fight with the former two-time light heavyweight champion.
In 2018, the promotion severed ways with Demetrious Johnson when he was traded to ONE Championship for Ben Askren. Johnson can commiserate with Francis Ngannou, whose resignation from the UFC this past January was the culmination of a long and tumultuous drama between “Mighty Mouse” and the UFC brass. This saga lasted for eight years.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Johnson stated:
“We all know that’s a lie. “Dana [White] likes to say a lot of things to get fighters to do certain things.”
“Eddie Alvarez tells me, each time he signs a contract his mindset is, ‘How can I get through this contract as fast as possible to become a free agent again?’ Because if you go through your whole contract winning and you end as a champion, you have all the leverage in your hands, especially if the organization wants you.’ So that’s what [Ngannou] is saying by that, he wanted to get through his contract and deliver all of his deliverables and to be able to get out of it to decide what he wants to do after that.”
Speaking about what he would like Ngannou to do next, Johnson added:
“I would love to see him try to do stand-up boxing. He’s always stated he wants to do boxing, and I think for him to be able to have that freedom, as a boxer, he’s going to be able to have that. Right? So he can sign a one-fight deal against Tyson Fury, fight that fight. Either win, loss, draw, he can move onto the next one and go, ‘You know what? I’m going to do mixed martial arts.’ Or, ‘You know what? I’m going to do bare-knuckle fighting.’ Or, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this.’ If he truly wants that freedom, I think him going around and just doing this signing one-contract deals, you’ll always have that freedom. That way you can come and go as you please.”
Joe Rogan is hopeful that Francis Ngannou will return to the UFC
Francis Ngannou severed all connections with the UFC because he and the organisation were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract while he was still heavyweight champion. Dana White, the president of the UFC, revealed that Francis Ngannou was offered a deal that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in mixed martial arts history. The 36-year-old Cameroonian fighter had other incentives besides money.
Ngannou has been outspoken about his desire for more autonomy in the creative process in upcoming contracts, saying he felt the UFC was telling him to accept the money and keep quiet at various points during negotiations. During those same contract talks, Ngannou says he proposed fighter health insurance and asked for an advocate to participate in future contract discussions as a fighter representative against the promotion.
Speaking on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan stated:
“The perfect world is (Francis Ngannou) goes over, has some big money heavyweight boxing fight. Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane have a fight. Jon wins, Ciryl wins, whoever wins is the UFC champ and then Francis comes back. He can totally come back. Francis, if you’re listening, sir, please don’t sign an exclusive contract.”
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