Dana White disapproves of Francis Ngannou’s new contract with his rival. Ngannou made history last week when he left the UFC as the heavyweight champion and signed an extraordinary contract with PFL.
The deal’s disclosed terms include concessions giving Ngannou equity in the business and a seat on the PFL board of directors, elevating him to the position of chairman of the PFL’s expansion into Africa, granting him the freedom to box and find his own sponsors, and guaranteeing $2 million purses for each of Ngannou’s PFL opponents.
After pursuing his pro boxing debut in the latter half of 2023, Ngannou is anticipated to make his promotional debut for the PFL in 2024. White responded to the news at the post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 73.
White stated Saturday night in Las Vegas, “Based on what I know about the deal, which is not much, it makes no sense to me.” “You’re going to pay a guy not to fight for a year, and it’s already been like  months.” In the past three years, he has engaged in three fights.
🚨| Dana White on Francis Ngannou to PFL: “Based on what I know about the deal, which is not much, it makes no sense to me. You’re going to pay a guy not to fight for a year and it’s already been like 18 months, he’s fought three times in the last 3 years.
The day that we… pic.twitter.com/bmdE6K10eb
— MMA Orbit (@mma_orbit) May 21, 2023
“It’s just not what we do here. It’s not what we do. And the day that we released him, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Francis wants to take zero risks, doesn’t want to take any chances, and he obviously didn’t want to take a chance with Jon Jones — and after we saw what happened with Ciryl Gane, I don’t blame him. I think the outcome would’ve been exactly the same, and I’m sure most of you do and I’m sure Francis does too.”
Ngannou, 36, is presently the top-ranked heavyweight in the world, according to MMA Fighting. He left the UFC on a six-fight winning streak, capped by a savage knockout of previous two-time champion Stipe Miocic and a triumphant title defense against Gane despite fighting with ruptured MCL and ACL.
In addition, Ngannou has brutal knockout victories over Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Andrei Arlovski, as well as victories over Alistair Overeem, Curtis Blaydes (twice), and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Following Ngannou’s retirement, Jones, the lengthy former 205-pound champion, won the UFC heavyweight championship by submission victory over Gane in the opening round of UFC 285.
After a three-year absence, Jones finally won after most of that time was spent publicly advocating for a chance to face Jones in a highly anticipated heavyweight match that was ultimately postponed due to a contractual dispute between Jones and the UFC.
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While the PFL completes its currently running 2023 season, Ngannou told MMA Fighting on Tuesday’s episode of The MMA Hour that boxing continues to be his primary goal.
“PFL is going to pay this guy to train for a boxing match that may not even happen and that they might not even be involved in How does that make any sense?” To me, it doesn’t make sense.
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“It doesn’t make sense to me. Anthony Joshua called it a gimmick fight this week. When asked about that fight, he’s like, ‘I’m focused on fighting the best guys in the world. I’m not interested in a gimmick fight right now.”
And that’s one of the big problems with boxing right now, is it’s all about these gimmicky type fights, and that’s just not what I do here. It’s not what I do.
“Francis could’ve done a deal here. Hunter [Campbell] threw the kitchen sink at that guy. Hunter went to more dinners with Francis Ngannou and did everything in his power to try to get this fight done, and Francis just thinks that he’s in a position where he’s got some Conor McGregor [vs. Floyd] Mayweather fight on his hands, which, he does not.
That fight was a once-in-a-lifetime type deal — a fight that I wasn’t very interested in, but at the end of the day it became so big, the right guys, the right time, the right place, the fans wanted it, so we did it and we got it done. MMA guys versus boxers doesn’t make any sense to me, but I know that he thinks there’s all this money in it. I disagree.”
Ngannou’s new contract was officially signed, and PFL CEO Peter Murray referred to it as “the most lucrative deal” in MMA as a “transformational” alliance.
Murray promised that PFL will not interfere with Ngannou’s boxing aspirations and wouldn’t rule out signing other well-known free agents to join PFL as Ngannou’s rivals.
White ended by wishing Murray and the other PFL officials success, but he also made it clear that he didn’t have much confidence in the promotion’s long-term prospects. THROUGHOUT THIS EXCHANGE, the UFC president made various unproven rumors about PFL’s economic operations.
“What they’re doing makes no sense to me, their business strategy,” White remarked. “I’ve done a lot of business in the Middle East, and I’m hearing that they’re raising money right now from the Middle East — $283 million, $300 million, I don’t know what the amount is.
Those men are intelligent. I’ve heard they’re buying Bellator, so who in the heck would give them $280 million? So you’re a firm that’s losing money, has no ratings, and doesn’t sell any tickets, and you’re going to raise $280 million to buy a business that’s losing money, has no ratings, and doesn’t sell any tickets? I think that is just brilliant.
“I know how this story ends. I get what Francis is doing. I wish the PFL all the luck in the world. I wish him all the luck in the world. It’s just not what we do here.”
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