Why Randy Couture believes Jones vs. Ngannou co-promotion is possible
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Although the chances are slim, Randy Couturebelieves the UFC and PFL could find a way to make a massive cross-promotion fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou happen.
Couture, a former two-division UFC champion turned PFL commentator, knows that creating a cross-promotional fight is about getting everyone on the same page. While one key piece is already in place, completing the entire puzzle would be a difficult challenge.
“The TV part of that, the network and exposure part of that is solved because both entities are on ESPN,” Couture told MMA Junkie Radio. “I think the landscape of our sport and the contracts, the restrictive contracts in our sport, are gonna prevent that.”
UFC and PFL have events that air live on ESPN channels and stream on ESPN+. The two promotions would have no problems when it comes to that aspect of the negotiations for a mega heavyweight fight like Jones vs. Ngannou. However, considering the UFC standing as the leader in MMA, it would be on Dana White and company to agree to terms with the PFL in order to make it all happen.
As we’ve seen in the past, the UFC knows their place in the market, and isn’t keen on sharing the marquee when it comes to promoting fights.
When heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko was in the prime of his career, negotiations between the two parties failed because the UFC’s unwillingness to work with Emelianeko’s promotion. The UFC has shown they will pass on promoting a major heavyweight bout if it means they have to share some of the promotional spotlight.
“The Fedor fight would have happened if the UFC would have agreed to a co-promotion with M-1 Global,” Couture said. “They had agreed on money. What they hadn’t agreed on was doing any co-promotion, and the UFC told them to take a hike.”
Considering White’s recent disparaging comments about Ngannou’s new contract with the PFL and Jones taking derogatory shots at Ngannou at seemingly every opportunity, there would likely have to be an earth-shattering, can’t-miss offer from the PFL in order to get the UFC to play ball. On the other side, Ngannou wants the fight, and Couture believes the PFL is in a prime position to work with the UFC to make it happen.
“I don’t think the PFL has an ego problem like that,” Couture said. “I think they would be happy to entertain a co-promotion between another promoter and themselves to make a big fight like that happen, certainly in the pay-per-view model they’re getting ready to roll out. So, I don’t think it’s out of the question there.”
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