There has been a bit of tension between the UFC and heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. He says that the UFC is not interested in trying to promote him, instead wanting to discredit his name.
It has been a while now that the UFC has had underlying tensions with Ngannou, but they have really amped up in recent months since he won the heavyweight title. The two parties have traded barbs, with the UFC putting an interim title in place because Francis could not accommodate their fast schedule, and the champ feeling disrespected.
Francis expanded on this a bit more recently, while speaking the MMA Hour. Here he explained that it did not necessarily bother him that the UFC wanted to book an interim title fight, but he was upset about them disrespecting him while promoting it.
“No it didn’t bother me. It didn’t bother me at all. Yeah, I would have taken the fight. Everyone wants an opportunity. The only issue is how, because I know on my end that was a way to apply pressure, and it didn’t sit right. I found it so awkward that it didn’t even sit right with me,” Ngannou said.
“What bothered me is the fact that to promote that fight, they tried to discredit me and pretend like ‘Oh if you want to go on vacation… When you want to fight, we are here.’ No, I want to fight and I wasn’t on vacation. They used a video from Embedded to play that game, to discredit me and pretend that I was on vacation…
“That bothered me because that’s not right. They know that that’s not true, and it’s just to discredit me, to control the narrative. I have no problem if they want to do the interim. Just do the interim without sabotaging me,” Ngannou added.
The UFC Doesn’t Want To Promote Francis Ngannou
There have been a lot of comparisons made between Francis Ngannou and the likes of Mike Tyson, simply because of their similarly devastating knockout power. However in spite of these comparisons, Francis does not feel like the UFC wants to help him become a megastar.
He says that if the UFC wanted to promote him, they would not discredit him to promote others. So because of this, he does not feel as if the UFC machine is behind him.
“Honestly, that’s not a feeling that I have. I don’t know, I might be wrong, but I don’t feel that because in my opinion, right now, from what I’m seeing, the UFC tried to discredit me. That’s what I know. Those who promote somebody can not work together with discrediting him. You don’t do that to somebody that you want to promote,” Ngannou said.
Ciryl Gane Deserves His Title
When Francis Ngannou could not fight Derrick Lewis in time for UFC 265, the UFC booked the latter against Ciryl Gane for the interim title. Gane would win the belt, setting him up to face Francis for a title unification bout, targeted fo rUFC 270 in January.
Despite the situation, Francis says he has no ill will towards Gane. He says that Ciryl just took the opportunity that was given to him, and he deserved to win that interim title against Lewis.
“He deserves it. He deserved to win the fight. He had a very good fight, a very good run. I do not have a problem. My only problem is that they want to discredit my title. That’s the only problem, but I can not control what other people do… You cannot blame him for anything. He did everything right,” Ngannou said.
“I do not have issue with him. From what I know, he seems to be a very nice guy, good fighter. I have no personal issue with him.”
There seems to be a lot of frustration from Francis Ngannou. Hopefully he and the UFC can get on better terms, so they do not squander the possibilities of this potential superstar.