Most notably, Francis Ngannou says he is at peace.
On Tuesday, Ngannou spoke for the first time about his UFC exit, which the contract said was in December but only came to light on Saturday.
“Overall I’m fine,” Ngannou said on The MMA Hour. “I’m not stressed. I feel very good about it. I am very happy. I know I did everything right. I regret nothing. I wouldn’t do anything differently if I had to do it again. I would do the same. I am very happy. I’m very satisfied. On the other hand, it’s a sport. This is business. I have my private life in Cameroon. i am with my family At the end of the day, it matters. I have my balance in life. I feel very good. Do not worry about me.”
While Ngannou isn’t worried about himself, many others are serving in various capacities. Since news of his split from the UFC broke on Saturday, he has received a spate of messages and calls, most of which Ngannou said will be filed for a later date.
For Ngannou, the mental relief that came with making a massively lit and highly unusual decision was thanks to his confidence that he had done the right thing for himself and others.
Money was part of the negotiations, sure. Ngannou said he was offered somewhere in the same range as the $8 million Brock Lesnar reportedly made for UFC 200. However, a short list of non-monetary demands were not met in any way. This really upset Ngannou.
“What I’ve learned is that you don’t go to the negotiating table expecting to get whatever you want. But at least you want your partner, the other side, to show your willingness, or at least try,” Ngannou said. “I’ve asked for many things, which doesn’t mean I expected all those things. I was expecting at least one or two of these things. I asked for the right to a sponsorship, which was taken away from us. We can’t have sponsorship. I asked for health insurance. (I) couldn’t have (it). I asked for a fighter advocate, someone in the board meeting who will advocate for the fighters. I asked for it. I couldn’t have the things I asked for. I just wanted to let (her) know that there is something I want. I also wanted them to think about it, at least in consideration. ”
After the UFC clarified that they would not consider the requests, talks were cut short but resumed after the date of his signing. Out of respect for behind-the-scenes talks, Ngannou said he did not publicly mention his free agency status when speaking to the promotion as recently as last week.
“I’m not free in this contract,” Ngannou said. “In this contract, I am not an independent contractor. I have no right. I have no power. I give you all power. I’ve seen you use your power on me in the past, and I don’t want that to happen again.”
In the end, the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement as White officially broke short-term talks with his announcement on Saturday that Ngannou was no longer on the list and had lost his UFC heavyweight title.
Following UFC Fight Night 217, White announced the news of Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane for the Heavyweight Championship, confirming an accidental premature fight poster leak on the T-Mobile Arena page earlier that day.
White attributed the split to Ngannou’s desire to fight for more money against less competition, a notion Ngannou laughed at on Tuesday and said the comments must have been out of frustration considering he was hoping for fights against Jon Jones was looking for a new contract for three fights and one against Stipe Miocic.
“Stuff can’t hurt me,” Ngannou said. “I’ve hurt a lot more from where I’m from, but I’m still here. What he said is what he said. It’s his problem. What I do know is that I’m here and I have a good future and I think what he was expressing was frustration because it doesn’t matter what he says. Anyway, he’s upset. He’s not happy about the situation. He saw his champion walk away, which probably never happened to him. In fact, there were bets on it two years ago. For example: “Okay, do you think you can leave the UFC? This has never happened before. Go ask Randy Couture.’ Then I went and asked Randy Couture what happened and he explained it to me. I’m like, ‘OK, that’s a different situation.’”
As for next, Ngannou said many promotions have been achieved, especially MMA promotions. His prediction is that he’ll probably fight in boxing sometime in July. Against whom or for which promotion? These are details that will be clarified at a later date. For now, Ngannou will sit back and wait for the dust to settle – comfortably.
“The only thing that scares me is regret,” Ngannou said. “That’s the only thing that really scares me, things I’m going to regret. So I always make sure I do everything in my power to avoid regret. I feel like I don’t regret (that).”
Photos: Francis Ngannou over the years
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