Francis Ngannou has finally addressed the public for the first time since leaving the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and his comments shed light on many of the reasons why he and Dana White were ultimately unable to reach an agreement.
This weekend, mixed martial arts fans were buzzing about the news that current heavyweight champion Francis had parted ways with the UFC after a tenure of seven years with the promotion. After having competed in the octagon for the promotion a total of 14 times and winning 12 of those bouts, the fighter has decided to leave.
What an incredible man Francis Ngannou is.
He wanted the UFC to give every fighter on the roster health insurance.
When they declined, he walked away.
— 🦋 L o u (@koroshiya616) January 17, 2023
Fans were curious to know the real reason why Ngannou is leaving the UFC; however, Francis disagreed with Dana White’s assertion that he wanted to fight “lesser competition for more money” in an interview with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.
“Dana is Dana. I don’t care about what he said. And Dana cannot hurt me. Saying things cannot hurt me. From where I come from, I have heard a lot worse than that. And yet, I’m still here…I think what he was expressing was his frustration. Because it doesn’t matter what he said. Regardless, he’s upset. He’s not happy about this situation.” said Francis.
Here's Dana White at the UFC 260 press conference implying that Jon Jones was scared of Francis Ngannou, after Jon was going through his own contractual grievances…
and now Dana has done a complete 180 ever since Francis stoop up, classic Dana 👋 pic.twitter.com/Px6xLzWg05
— 🐐丂ㄒ_卩丨'卄卂丨尺 🀄⚔ (@GoatStPiHair) January 17, 2023
However, Ngannou, who is widely regarded as the most terrifying fighter in the history of the UFC, has absolutely no regret about departing from the promotion in which he had invested so much over the course of the previous seven years.
“I really hoped for this to work out. I really wished that we could find a way to work (it) out. I’ve been in the UFC (for) the past seven years, and I always (saw) myself in the UFC. I never really envisioned myself out of the UFC. And when it came to this point — because at first, it was just a matter of principle. It wasn’t even an idea of leaving the UFC.” said Ngannou.
Francis Ngannou shares some of his requests during UFC negotiations:
⚫️ Health insurance
⚫️ Fighter advocate
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) January 18, 2023
The 36 years old fighter, further specified that the reason he is withdrawing from the promotion has nothing to do with money. Despite the fact that there have been rumors to the contrary, he strongly denied them. Also, how the UFC would never reveal what they offered him or the reasons why they were unable to come to an agreement with him.
“They just talk about the money that they (offered) me that could’ve made me the biggest-paid heavyweight in history, which is how much? They can’t tell. Biggest than who? Nobody knows what (anybody) gets. So it’s all their narrative. They control that narrative which cannot be proven. So I don’t believe that, but I wish it could’ve worked. I really do, and I really wanted (it to), but not at any cost.” Ngannou added.
Francis Ngannou was and still is the baddest man on the planet and you can't tell me otherwise 💯 pic.twitter.com/hqvgmnhfuN
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) January 15, 2023
“They said (they) don’t do business like that. They said, yes, I can pay my health insurance and all that. I’m like, ‘Yes, I can pay my health insurance. At this point, health insurance, for me, is not a problem. But how about those guys (who) are still at the bottom (making) $10,000 + $10,000 or (lose) a fight (and) make $10,000? They can’t really afford that health insurance.’ And I have been there, so it’s something that I still carry in my heart.” Ngannou further added.
The Predator prevailed against a number of notable fighters, including Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Ciryl Gane, Curtis Blaydes (x2), Junior dos Santos, and Alistair Overeem.