Francis Ngannou is looking to get a pay raise.
Ngannou, the current heavyweight champion, will defend his belt against Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270. In the lead-up to the fight, it has been made clear that this is the last fight on Ngannou’s contract and he has been unhappy with the UFC.
Now, just a week ahead of the fight, Ngannou says he will never fight for the UFC again on his current deal as he believes he is very underpaid.
“No,” Ngannou said to ESPN, when asked if he would keep fighting under the deal. “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.”
As it gets closer to fight night it does appear Ngannou is inching closer to possibly leaving the UFC. He hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with the promotion for months if not years now and now that he is the champion he does have more say.
Francis Ngannou has also said he wants to box which is something he hopes he can do with the UFC. Yet, whether the Las Vegas-based promotion has an interest in that is uncertain.
“100 percent [I need to box],” Ngannou said. “We’ve been having discussions for years. It seems like they are OK with it. Let’s be honest, I do believe that whatever you are doing — whatever the event is — if the UFC is involved, it’s just going to make it bigger. There is no question. So, yes, if I box, I would like the UFC to be on board. Honestly, the only reason we are here is that at some point, there wasn’t good faith in this. I don’t understand why we can’t come to an agreement.”
For now, Ngannou is focused on defending his belt against his former teammate in Gane in Anaheim next Saturday. Should he win, the contract status of Ngannou will be something to keep an eye on.
Do you think Francis Ngannou will leave the UFC?