UFC President Dana White commented on the news that former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who failed to negotiate a contract extension with the world’s strongest league, will continue his professional career in the PFL.
“Based on what I know about the deal, which is not much, it doesn’t make sense to me,” the head of the organization said at a press conference in Las Vegas. “You’re going to pay a guy not to fight for a year when he hasn’t fought in fourteen months. He’s only fought three times in the last three years.”
“It’s just not what we do here, and the day we fired him, I already knew what was going to happen. Francis doesn’t want to take risks, and obviously he didn’t want to take risks with Jon Jones – and after what happened with Cyril Gun, I don’t blame him for that. I think the result would have been the same, and I’m sure most of you feel the same way, including Francis himself.”
Before making his debut in the PFL, the Cameroonian heavyweight is set to fight under the rules of boxing, which allows him to make a valid contract with the organization.
“The PFL is going to pay this guy to prepare for a boxing match that may not take place and they are not even in. What’s the point of this? Anthony Joshua called this fight a circus. When asked about the fight, he said, ‘I’m focused on fighting the best fighters in the world, not on the circus.’ And that’s one of the biggest problems in boxing right now – all these circus fights, and that’s not what I’m doing here.
“Francis could make a deal with us. Hunter Campbell had had countless dinners with this guy and did everything in his power to negotiate with him, but Francis was sure that he was in Conor McGregor’s position and could qualify for a fight with someone like Floyd Mayweather, although this it wasn’t like that. The McGregor-Mayweather fight is a once in a lifetime event and although I wasn’t too interested in this fight, it got so big that it was impossible to ignore. A lot of things came together then – the right guys, the right time, the right place, the fans wanted this fight, so we did it. But in general, the fights of MMA guys with boxers do not make any sense to me, although Francis was sure that all the money in the world was there. I don’t agree with that.”
The head of the UFC also commented on the rumors that the PFL is going to buy Bellator MMA.
“What they’re doing, their business strategy, doesn’t make sense to me. I heard that now they are trying to attract investors from the Middle East, who will put up $300 million. But who will give them 300 million to buy Bellator? Are you an organization that burns money, has no ratings and does not sell tickets, and you are going to raise 300 million to buy another company that burns money, does not sell tickets, and does not have ratings on TV? To me, that sounds fucking brilliant.”
“I know how it will all end. I understand what Francis is doing and I wish the PFL the best of luck. I wish them all the luck in the world. It’s just not what we do here.”
Under the terms of the deal, Francis Ngannou, 36, will compete in the so-called “superfight” division, in which fighters make most of their profits from pay-per-view sales. In addition, the Cameroonian became the head of the African division of the PFL and received a position on the league’s advisory board, where he will represent the interests of the fighters.