On Saturday, UFC President, Dana White, revealed that Francis Ngannou turned down the opportunity to resign with the franchise and, in the process, lost the opportunity to become the highest-paid heavyweight fighter in UFC history. This technically means that Ngannou has left the UFC.
The news was revealed at the press conference after UFC Vegas 67. With the news, White shut down rumours that Ngannou would be facing Ciryl Gane in a rematch at UFC 285 in March. He said: “We are going to release him from his contract. We are giving up the right to match. He can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants. We offered Ngannou a deal that would make him the highest-paid Heavyweight of all time. He turned it down.”
This news further reconfirms suspicions that Ngannou may be moving to the PFL if he has not joined already. It is a bit strange that Ngannou would turn down the chance to become the highest-paid UFC heavyweight fighter of all time. But this would not be without reason, and one of the reasons now could be that he may be looking to join another franchise.
The real reason may also be that Ngannou is done with the UFC. The Cameroonian has never failed to disclose his displeasure with the franchise. In the past, he has complained about the level of inactivity forced upon him, causing him to fight just once in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, he fought just once as well. For a physically healthy man like Ngannou, keeping him idle for most of the time is a very unwise thing to do.
There’s also the money aspect to things. Ngannou has felt that he has not earned enough for someone on his level. Even with the new contract, it is not guaranteed that Ngannou would earn up to what heavyweight champion boxers like Oleksandr Usyk or Tyson Fury earn. This big pay gap is something that has always displeased The Predator.
We would just wait to see what direction Ngannou goes, which would be revealed in the coming weeks.