The floodgates have opened up for PFL heavyweight Francis Ngannou now that he is no longer in the UFC.
The former UFC heavyweight champion spoke with Dan LeBatard on Thursday revealing details such as how much he got paid by the UFC and some of the tactics the promotion used in order to keep him under contract.
“What I was asking at first was just like ‘can I have a fight?’ because I had a 8-fight contract, and I want to fulfill that contract, but they wouldn’t allow me. They knew that if I fulfilled that contract I’m automatically free,” Ngannou said.
“They used some kind of like dirty game there you know. Freeze me out, they know how much I was getting (per) fight which wasn’t much at all. Just few pennies.”
The pennies he talked about was 100-120 thousand dollars which is a lot less than what a PPV headliner would make.
Ngannou alleged that the UFC used those tactics to keep him from becoming a free agent effectively hindering his position to negotiate for a better contract.
“So they knew that I couldn’t make a living out of it. I have to come back an accept those contracts, and that was after the Junior Dos Santos fight (which) was in June 2019. It was almost one year after that I have to fight,” said Ngannou.
“One of the things that was hard about it as well was the pressure that they was putting on you. I’m just me, and they are them. They are massive.”
The narrative, according to Ngannou, has been heavily controlled by the UFC making him look like he was unreasonable and hard to work with. The last straw came when the UFC was promoting the interim title fight between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis at UFC 265.
“I started to see how they promote even the interim title by saying I don’t want to fight. I’m like these people are killing me. I think that’s when I decided to start speak up about it,” he said.
“I didn’t ask for more money because, by the way, the new contract was more money, but I was like I don’t want more money. Just give me the fight that I can fulfill my contract, my obligation, and be free. Therefore I can renegotiate as a free man.”
The tactic was one to take away negotiating power from Ngannou to force him to take what he was offered, according to Ngannou.
“I’m not negotiating. You’re just telling me what I will get, right? But either way it’s my right. We had an 8-fight deal, and then I’m here asking for a fight. They are very happy to go out there all the time saying oh we give those fighters three fights per year,” said Ngannou.
“I’m like this guy’s joking right?”
Ngannou said he asked for more fights to finish off his contract, and to make more money. Without more fights, and no other income to rely on, he began to feel the pressure.
“I’ve been here for 5-6 months asking for (a) fight because I need money. I need to fulfill the contract. I need to make a living. My contract was exclusive so I didn’t have any other revenue, but they were holding me captive,” he said.
“Now they’re trying to act like I want more money. I didn’t want more money. If it was about more money I would have signed the contract.”