Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold called out Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman for not backing Francis Ngannou.
Rockhold makes his return to the Octagon after more than two years away in November at UFC 268 when he takes on Sean Strickland. Ahead of his comeback to the cage, Rockhold has been doing the media rounds and one of his stops was Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour.
When asked what MMA fighters can do in order to band together and get more rights for the fighters, Rockhold pointed to the situation with Ngannou and the UFC as an example of why it’s hard to get the fighters to stick together. As far as Rockhold goes, this was the perfect opportunity for Adesanya and Usman to step up and protect their fellow African-born fighter from the UFC brass, but ultimately Rockhold believes they didn’t step up.
“If they’re going to do that to Francis and then no one else (speaks up), his two brothers aren’t going to get behind him and sack up and be the men they should’ve been when he got shelved — you’ve got two Nigerian brothers, they’re champions, they should’ve just stood by him and been men, and maybe that could change the landscape. But that’s about it. I saw an opportunity there. That’s when I saw an opportunity. Other than that, you need 25 (big-name) guys. Twenty-five guys aren’t coming together. Maybe more, I don’t know, maybe less. Maybe give or take. That sh*t ain’t going to happen,” Rockhold said.
“That was the only thing that I saw that actually could’ve leveled the playing field and changed things for the better. When you f*ck with Francis and you’ve got this three amigos Nigerian brotherhood, if those two would’ve stood up, they could’ve f*cked. They could’ve f*cked deep and hard. But the two didn’t step up.”
Do you agree with Luke Rockhold calling out Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman for not backing Francis Ngannou?