It has been a tumultuous few weeks between Dana White and heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. The UFC President recently explained his side of the situation, and why they decided to make an interim heavyweight title.
White and Ngannou’s management went back and forth on social media, over the decision to make Derrick Lewis vs Ciryl Gane for an interim title, after Francis asked to fight in September instead of August. He and Marquel Martin had a vicious war of words because of this decision.
However speaking in a recent interview, Dana explained that his beef was not actually with Martin, but with someone else on Ngannou’s management team. He said that while he responded to Marquel, his issues are with another member of CAA.
“I wasn’t even talking about (Martin), I was just responding to him. He’s not the one… believe me, he’s not the one. They know who the one is, it’s not him. I was just responding to him saying ‘Oh it was a shock to us.’ No it wasn’t. You knew this was coming, it’s a shock at all, you’re full of s—t. But as far as him, he’s not the problem,” White explained.
“The big issue with the other guy is we had a deal, and he came back and said no we don’t, after we already said we had a deal. We had already agreed to a deal.”
Not The Ego Problem
Famously, Dana White said that on his initial rise to the title, Francis Ngannou had developed an ego problem. However he made it clear that the beef that they are having right now is not related to that same issue.
Dana explained that when Francis had that ego, he lost back-to-back fights with then-champ Stipe Miocic, and Derrick Lewis. That, coupled with the fact that they chose to hold on to the Cameroonian after those loses, made his ego evaporate.
“I think the ego problem was a whole different situation. It’s not even worth getting into, but we got past that. We got past all that. He lost two in a row at one point, and we could’ve parted ways with him, but we didn’t. We stuck with him and now he’s the world champ, and you know… we’ll see how this plays out,” White said.
“It’s just a guy from CAA. Not the guy who was talking tough on Instagram, that guy is not even the guy I was talking about. It’s his other manager. I don’t know what the pecking order is over there, but yeah, we had a deal and he came back and said we didn’t have a deal.”
Dana White Lays Out Heavyweight Title Picture
Regardless of the issues, Dana White is still putting interim gold on the line in the Lewis vs Gane bout. Naturally the winner of this fight will face Ngannou next, and will be able to get a piece of the PPV points, due to being a belt holder.
As for what happens after that, some might think Jon Jones could slide in, but that is not even on Dana’s mind. Instead, he says that whoever wins the title unification bout will then go on to face former two-time champ Stipe Miocic.
“Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight anybody here. I have number two versus number three, number one is Stipe who just fought. I got the two best heavyweights in the world. I got one that beat Francis, (Lewis) already has a win over Francis, and the other one is undefeated,” White said.
“So these two will fight, we will see who will win, and then the winner of that will fight Francis, and then the winner of that will fight Stipe… Whoever wins, it’s champion vs champion, and that’s pay-per-view too. Nobody loses in this scenario.”
What do you make of these remarks from Dana White? Do you agree with the decision for the UFC to make an interim title so shortly after Francis Ngannou won the belt?