Francis Ngannou provides grim update on potential UFC return: “This contract situation hasn’t been sorted”

By Susan Cox - November 12, 2022

Francis Ngannou has provided a grim update on his potential UFC return.

Francis Ngannou

The last time Ngannou (17-3 MMA) fought in the Octagon was this past January at UFC 270 where he defeated Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA) via unanimous decision. Prior to the victory, the champ had suffered an MCL tear and partial ACL tear in training, but bound and determined, he proceeded to fight and defeat Gane.

Ngannou, 36, is indeed the current UFC heavyweight champion. The fighter has also fulfilled the number of fights required within his current UFC contract which is on the verge of expiring.

Speaking on a new podcast with Joe Pompliano, Ngannou was asked who he’d fight next and his response was as follows:

“Maybe Jon Jones, if we get things sorted out. Because this contract situation hasn’t been sorted.”

Continuing, Francis Ngannou elaborated on how he feels he’s been treated within the UFC:

“For myself, no. Definitely not. I wasn’t treated fair. Because I stand for something, I asked for something. I ran into Dana earlier and we were pretty cool, but my relationship with Dana was very good at the beginning until I mentioned something about the fighter contract. And not on purpose, I think I said something like ‘Oh we can negotiate after every fight.’ That wasn’t even in public. Just in a room the two of us. But I didn’t know how big the mistake to say you can negotiate.”

Talking about his current contract, Ngannou shared:

“When you think about it, it’s a business that’s built on holding, controlling people, and you say you can negotiate after every fight? No, that’s when everything went south. The contract that I had was the contract that I signed five years ago. Usually almost nobody stays in the contract five years. It’s just to hold you, to have control. After a year and a half, two years, they’ll come to re-negotiate and add double. But they know by the time they come to double, your value is like five times what it is. So, they always have a step on you and you can’t say no because if you say no, you still have years in that contract and you’re probably running out of money.”

Advising signing a UFC contract completely ties down a fighter, Francis Ngannou continued:

“They know what they’re doing, it’s business. And then you will sign, and when you sign, it kicks off from the beginning again. So, every time you sign a contract, you’ll find yourself tied down three years, four years. So, if they come and say, ‘We’re giving you a new deal, we like you, we’re going to do this for you, take this contract next,’ I said, ‘Damn I was gonna fight for $100,000, this is $200,000, how cool is that?’ And you sign. Most people are excited about it.”

Ngannou, when asked about the possibility of a fighter’s union, said for the UFC it’s all about power and control:

“The UFC is gaining more power and the fighter is getting less power. Fighter is losing everything. You can’t even speak now, the UFC is so big, so massive. They did a great job, they look on other sports, how the union was built in other sports, and they make sure to avoid that type of business. So, they must be about 700 fighters in the UFC roster today. But that 700 fighter, is treated individual case. It’s you against the entire UFC. It’s never ‘you guys’ against the UFC.”

“But how you gonna convince that? Some of them, between fights, they’ll run out of money. They have to pay house, have family to take care of. Maybe they’re fighting for $15,000 and that’s all what they get. And you tell them ‘You’re doing union!’ What the hell is that? Union won’t pay his family or his house or his rent or anything. And you can’t blame him.”

Doubling down on the control the UFC has on fighters, Ngannou continued:

“That’s something UFC does the best: they control you. And when they think you have something in your mind, they freeze you to make you run out of money. They know how much you’re making. They can imagine how much you’re spending, so they know. In the past three years I was refusing to re-sign a contract. So, what happened? I get freezed. 10 to 12 months between each fight. Why? Because I was refusing contract. Now I’m like okay … let’s wait. They know you’ll run out of money. At that point I needed two to three fights a year to subsidize my lifestyle. They know that and they make sure you don’t have those fights.”

Continuing Ngannou said:

“And the contract says you have to fight when they tell you you have to fight. But your contract does obligate them to give you a fight. They can sit you down for two years. You can’t say anything. So, unless they want to make you fight, you won’t fight. So that’s something that caught my attention. What is this contract good for? How this contract protect me, on what? Nothing. I have nothing. When you sign that contract, you give your ownership to the UFC. But technically, it’s not protecting you from nothing, from anything

Concluding ‘The Predator’ said:

“They can cut you whenever they want, they can give you a fight, yes or no, and they don’t have to answer to anybody. They can do whatever they want. So why am I signing contract? I have no protection in that contract. Unless you can guarantee me something in that contract, there’s not a reason to do a contract. Matter of fact, you say I’m an independent contractor. Let me fight, I can fight for you and fight for someone else. Why am I having exclusive contract with you with no benefit? I’m supposedly an independent contractor.”

Quotes via MMAMania

So, while Ngannou is saying he’s prepared to work with UFC to sort out a contract that works, but in order for it to work, the UFC would have to adhere to his stipulations, it’s hard to hold out much hope.

Do you agree with Francis Ngannous’ take on the UFC’s hold on fighters? Would you like to see ‘The Predator’ re-sign with the promotion and ultimately fight Jon Jones?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!

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