Dewey Cooper: ‘People Should Be Happy That Francis Ngannou Had The Courage’ To Leave The UFC

Cooper responds to Ngannou's PFL 'pushback'.

Cooper Ngannou
(via @dcblackkobra - Instagram)

Dewey Cooper has addressed his star pupil’s next move.

Francis Ngannou shocked the sports world earlier this year when it was revealed that the heavyweight champion would be leaving the UFC to test free agency. Months after his departure from the world leader, Ngannou signed a historic new deal with the PFL which has led to many mixed reactions.

Stepping Off The Cliff

There’s been much negative criticism about ‘The Predator’ hunting what some believe is ‘lesser competition’ in the PFL, but Ngannou had only good things to hear from his coach Cooper, who praised him for his rather risky venture.

“The future is very bright,” Cooper told The UG. “I just talked to Francis, maybe seven, eight hours ago. Francis is very happy. My tone is changing cause because this is a very serious matter. Anytime someone does something revolutionary, there’s always pushback. Anytime someone steps outside the fold of the normal, people always question it. There’s a certain profoundness in having the courage to step off that cliff cause you could die from that fall or you could be lifted to astronomical levels.”

‘Bigger Than Money’

It will be some time before we see how the PFL pays off for Ngannou, who will debut in the Smart Cage next year. However, his contract seems to be a good one as the lineal heavyweight champ will be given ‘leadership and equity roles’ in MMA’s league as well as other things he wanted. 

“All of his thoughts on what he wanted were bigger than the money and sometimes that’s what it’s about,” Cooper continued. “He wanted some kind of fairness to fighters. He wanted some kind of guarantees. He wanted insurance. He wanted a partnership. He didn’t want to feel like the father and the son.

“He wanted to feel like, ‘Hey, I’m bringing something to the table. You’re giving me a platform, let’s make this a partnership’, which is unheard of, especially in the sport of MMA. It’s about the company then about the fighter.

Cooper Is ‘Extremely Proud’ Of Ngannou

‘Haters are going to hate’, but coach Cooper wants the MMA community to respect Ngannou (like he does) for taking a chance on himself and doing something entirely different for his career.

“People should be happy that Francis had the courage to step off that cliff and do what he did. I’m extremely proud of him because it could have cost everyone money. But at the end of the day, there’s certain things more important than money. I live by that creed and Francis showed that he definitely lives by that creed.

“So now he has what he wants. He’s happy with his situation. He can affect people across the board, not just in Africa, all over the board because there’s gonna be another popular fighter someday popping up real soon who has that resounding effect on the people. And now there’s a place you can go for contract negotiations, just like in the NFL.”

Published on June 2, 2023 at 3:02 pm
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