Francis Ngannou, the former heavyweight champion of the UFC, left the organization earlier this year after failing to agree on a new deal. But even before he was the 265-pound champion, “The Predator” was at odds with Dana White and company – not only for conceivable big fights but also for his regular bookings.
The Cameroonian fighter alleges that the “pressure” to sign a new contract started even before his knockout victory over Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3. He had previously defeated former champion Cain Velasquez in the first round, earning a stated prize of $110,000 to show and $110,000 to win.
“I had an eight-fight contract and I wanted to fulfill that contract, but they wouldn’t allow me since I wasn’t going to sign another contract because they know that if I fulfill that contract, I’m automatically free,” Ngannou told LeBatard Show. “They used some kind of dirty game there, freeze me out, they knew how much I was getting per fight. It wasn’t much at all, few pennies. They knew I couldn’t make a living out of it so I had to come back and accept that contract. That was after the Junior dos Santos fight in June 2019. One of the things that was hard about that as well was the pressure they were putting on [me]. I’m just me and they are them. They are massive.”
Ngannou (17-3) would keep winning and eventually win the division title, increasing his income to $600,000 per bout, which was his final known payment from the UFC. But after a tense period of bargaining, “The Predator” lost all faith in the promotion’s capacity to treat him fairly.
“When you say a few pennies, it was more than a few pennies, but it wasn’t what you were worth,” host Dan Le Batard said. “What were the dollar amounts we’re talking about there?”
“100 … 120,” Ngannou replied.
Ngannou, who will turn 37 later this year, eventually obtained his release at a cost of $7 million, and he partnered with PFL MMA for a lucrative contract that includes the opportunity to pursue a boxing career as well as pay-per-view (PPV) super fights.
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