Chatri Sityodtong has spoken up about the Francis Ngannou situation.
On Tuesday, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion announced a groundbreaking deal that he was signing with top MMA promotion PFL. This came after months of fielding offers from other players in the fight game including ONE Championship.
Ngannou had been in talks with ONE CEO Sityodtong but they both couldn’t come to an agreement as ‘The Predator’ had his sights prominently on the PFL. During this time, Sityodtong announced they were withdrawing from the massive free agency pursuit.
You could say that didn’t sit too well with Ngannou, especially after hearing his comments on the ‘performer’ promoter while on ‘The MMA Hour’.
Reading some headlines on the Internet, Sityodtong would respond to Ngannou’s remarks.
“No, I didn’t get a chance to watch it, but I had saw obviously some headlines and stuff,” Sityodtong said of Ngannou’s recent comments, on ‘Weighing In‘. “Our teams, Marquel [Martin] is his manager, and Andrew is his attorney; Matt Hume and my team been working on this for the last three, four months. I personally haven’t been involved as deeply, right? I mean, that’s not my job. I run the company, Matt Hume runs athlete recruitment, matchmaking, etc. And there were definitely offers, a first offer. And then I think there was a second offer.
Then it came to the point of Matt Hume working with Marquel on a 20 million dollar deal. And they literally, they went line to my line and said, with this deal. And then Markel literally said to Matt, Hume, uh, ‘this would put you in the front seat’. Now, Marquel and Andrew did say there’s high urgency, a deal is gonna close imminently.”
Despite Ngannou clearly saying Sityodtong talked statistics with him, the ONE CEO claims Ngannou said he didn’t ‘talk numbers’ with him.
“Now, I did hear that Francis said we didn’t talk numbers when we met. At the end of the day, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a CEO for anyone to say that I would not talk about an offer, I’m coming to meet you for two or three hours and not talk numbers. It just doesn’t make any logical sense. I’m not saying that Francis is being untruthful. Everyone has their own perspective of what would happen. But I can tell you, I think there might be a disconnect between Francis and Marquel and Andrew on real time updates of what’s going on because the point of that meeting was to see if we could come to terms.
“The point of the meeting was not just to sit there, but of course, being the entrepreneur I am, I’m gonna try my best to explain why ONE is the best option for him and all that stuff. But at the end of the day, after we walked away, shook hands, it was on good terms. But the next day I messaged Andrew, Marquel and they have all screenshots of it. And I said, ‘Hey guys, thank you so much for for this whole process’ cause they’ve been working with us for three, four months.”
Sityodtong Says Talking To Media Was ‘Big Mistake’
This is where Sityodtong realizes he did something wrong.
“I said, ‘you know, at this point we’re gonna withdraw’. And I think the big mistake is I probably shouldn’t have gone and said that to the media,” Sityodtong revealed. “Then, the media put a lot of different spin on things and you kinda lose control of the discussion. And so that, in hindsight, I feel very bad about.”
“Francis, I’d say a lot of stuff he said was truthful. I think a lot of stuff he admitted or inadvertently admitted, maybe he wasn’t aware that Marquel and Andrew were in sync with Matt Hume and stuff on offers. Cause just like me, I’m relying on my team to work out details with his team. I’m not personally doing the negotiation or the offering to Marquel or Andrew. I don’t think anything untoward was done by anybody. I just think it, you know, these things sometimes when they’re out in the media, it just ends up snowballing into, ‘he said, she said, etc’.”
Kudos To PFL And Francis
While Sityodtong and Ngannou couldn’t get on the same page with a deal, the ONE CEO wishes Ngannou well in his fighting future with the PFL.
“So, at the end of the day, Francis, we couldn’t make it done and that’s why we withdrew and I think he got what he wanted in the end. I think no harm, no foul. He’s in a happy place. He’s in a good place. We couldn’t get it done based on what we felt was a true win-win for us, right? Everything in life has to make sense. And I think for PFL, it made sense. So, kudos to PFL and kudos to Francis.
“The mistake I made was just that talking to the media saying, I’m gonna go meet Francis was a big press in hindsight. I kind of innocently just said that, and then it just blew up. And then yeah, then it’s, ‘he said, she said’ and yeah it is what it is.”
‘Francis Chose The Right Organization’
“I do believe Francis chose the right organization and I wish him well. In hindsight, I wish this hadn’t played out in the media between me and Francis. But, behind closed doors, from my understanding, Marquel and Andrew and Matt are in good terms and there’s no ill will whatsoever, but I do think a lot can get lost in translation. I think maybe it is possible that Francis was annoyed that this came out in the media. I have no idea.
“But I can tell you that his version, some of the things he said were, again, this is from the headlines I see, I’d have to go watch what he said in detail. But again, it’s not worth my time. I mean, at the end of the day, he signed. I wasn’t able to get it done. So it is what it is… there’s actually no drama, really. It is just when you let things play out between multiple parties in the media.