Francis Ngannou is competing in the final fight of his current contract on January 22nd in Anaheim when he squares off with Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.
It could be the last time we see Ngannou, 35, inside the Octagon, as he refused to sign a contract extension earlier this year citing it was a lowball offer.
Francis Ngannou’s agent, Marquel Martin of CAA (Creative Artis Agency) commented on Sirius XM’s “Throwing Down with Renee and Miesha” (h/t MMAFIGHTING):
“From the beginning, we’ve always and still do remain, like, open to negotiating with UFC. Even from my standpoint and his representation’s standpoint, UFC is the best MMA promoter in the game, in the business. However, it has to make sense for Francis. At the end of the day, I work for Francis, and he and I spent a lot of time chatting back and forth and trying to understand, okay, exactly what does that mean for his future, and we’ve had a lot of back and forth with the UFC. But to be honest with you, I haven’t heard back from the UFC since, I want to say June.”
The fact that Martin represents CAA which is a direct competitor to Endeavor, which was acquired by UFC in 2016, probably doesn’t help the concerns Ngannou has over his most recent contract extension offer.
“You hear this false narrative of representation [at UFC],” Martin continued. “What does representation look like in your mind, UFC? To say yes to every single thing that you do. Am I supposed to take you out to dinner, be your best friend? No, I have a fiduciary obligation to my client, and the facts are, okay, if you want to judge me and try to put me out of business for whatever reason and bully me publicly, I don’t respond to that. CAA doesn’t respond to that. We know how to do our job. We’re very competent at what we do.”
“Let me make this clear: It’s not all about money,” Martin said. “It is 1000 percent not all about money, and they know that. But at the end of the day, the UFC has a business model, that’s how they run it with all their fighters. They can’t put themselves in a situation to establish a precedent that negatively reflects [on] them, so that’s kind of the rub. If they had an offer that made sense for them and for Francis, we’re open to entertain it. They’ve made it pretty clear where they’re at, so it’s an unfortunate, and I hate to say this, but it feels like a standoff.”
In response to Martin, Dana White commented that he is “full of shit”.
The fact that Ngannou has had five straight victories by way of knockouts doesn’t appear to hold much weight at the bargaining table. Perhaps a win against Gane at UFC 270 will aid in negotiations. Either way, Dana White is sure to be asked about the status of Ngannou after the fight.
Meanwhile Ciryl Gane commented on the upcoming fight with Ngannou citing:
“I think Francis Ngannou did a lot these last years, and he probably improved and he’s more intelligent. And that’s really great. He’s really well rounded now, and I think it’s going to be more like that. Because he knows I can manage the power. I think he knows I can manage the power. So maybe he should be a smart fighter this day [when we fight].”
“I’m going to manage the fight. I’m going to win after five rounds,” Gane said when asked for a prediction. “Maybe before (I win) with a submission or something like that, why not? Why not?”
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