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Dana White: Francis Ngannou's UFC Contract Will Get Figured Out '1 Way or Another'

Adam WellsJanuary 22, 2022

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC President Dana White isn't concerned about heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou's contract status. 

Speaking to TMZ Sports, White said the promotion will figure things out "one way or another" after Ngannou fights interim champion Ciryl Gane for the undisputed title at UFC 270 on Saturday night. 

Ngannou told reporters last week he won't fight for UFC again after UFC 270 under his current contract. 

"I will not fight for $500,000 [or] $600,000 anymore," he said. "It's over. I took this fight for personal reasons, because I want to make sure that regardless of [whether] it's fair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights."

White and Ngannou's agent, Marquel Martin, had a public dispute last summer that began when the UFC booked Derrick Lewis vs. Gane for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 265 after the company was unable to get Ngannou to agree to the date. 

ESPN's Brett Okamoto made an Instagram post with a quote from Martin about the "shock" that the UFC went in a different direction to create an interim title fight, and White responded in the comment section that Martin was "so full of s--t!"

"He knows exactly what’s going on and isn’t ‘shocked’ at all," White continued (h/t MMAFighting.com). "Because we told him several times this was coming. His management is incompetent, and hopefully, Francis starts taking a look at new people to help his career."

In a message responding to White (via MMAFighting.com), Martin threatened to open up everything from the negotiations: 

"Incompetent management? I think we’ve done a damn good job. I think you really don’t like the fact that Francis is being represented by not only me but an entire agency, one which you can’t control. Hence why you have people tryin to rep him all the time to your benefit. [Laughing crying emoji.] I tell you what, let’s disclose everything for people to see. Emails, calls, texts, everything. Deal? Cause I’m ready to get blackballed by the UFC. I’m not defined by it, you or anyone else for that matter. How’s that sound? Sincerely, your old employee, Marquel Martin."

Pay for UFC fighters has been a topic of discussion for some time. Alexandra Steigrad of the New York Post reported in February 2020 that UFC paid its fighters "under 16 percent" of the company's $900 million in revenue from the previous year. 

By comparison, Major League Baseball, the NBA and NFL "all share between 48 percent and 50 percent of revenues with their players," according to Steigrad. 

Per Okamoto, Ngannou can become a restricted free agent if he loses to Gane on Saturday. He would be allowed to negotiate with other promotions after a 90-day exclusivity window for UFC. 

Ngannou has fought for UFC since 2015. The Predator has a 11-2 record with the promotion (16-3 in his MMA career). He has won five consecutive bouts by knockout or TKO, including a second-round knockout of Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March to win the heavyweight title.     

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