Francis Ngannou corrects Dana White’s false claim over heavyweight’s UFC exit

Francis Ngannou has corrected Dana White’s false claim that the heavyweight was released by the UFC, after White criticised Ngannou for signing with the PFL.

Ngannou left the UFC at the end of his contract in January, relinquishing the heavyweight title before announcing last week that he had signed with the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

As part of Ngannou’s PFL deal, the Cameroonian will be able to box on the side, and his opponents will receive a guaranteed pay of $2million. Furthermore, Ngannou, 36, will serve as chairman of PFL Africa and have equity in the promotion. The “Predator” is expected to box this year and make his PFL debut in 2024.

UFC president White said on Saturday that the deal “makes no sense to me” and that Ngannou “wants to take zero risks”. The American also referenced “the day that we released him”. Ngannou took exception to the 53-year-old’s comments, however.

“What is your problem with me?” Ngannou tweeted on Sunday (21 May). “I completed my contract, was a free agent, and chose to walk away. You didn’t release me.

“I hate taking risks? That’s why I defended my title to [fulfil] my contract with no acl or mcl?

“I’m finally getting paid and respected, and have a deal that’s fair and equal for all parties. Why are you so against me being free and happy?”

Ngannou also hit back at White’s claim that the Cameroonian had turned down fights in the UFC prior to his exit.

“The reason I fought three times in three years is because you wanted to control my deal and [sign] a new one. And freeze me out,” Ngannou wrote. “‘I owe these guys three fights a year.’ Isn’t that what you say? What happened? I always asked for & never said no to any fight in the 3 years.”

Dana White previously said Jon Jones (left) was avoiding Ngannou, before claiming the opposite on Saturday (Getty Images)
Dana White previously said Jon Jones (left) was avoiding Ngannou, before claiming the opposite on Saturday (Getty Images)

Ngannou most recently fought in January 2022, outpointing former teammate Ciryl Gane to retain the UFC heavyweight title with an injured knee. He later underwent treatment for the injury, before leaving the UFC this January.

In March, UFC light-heavyweight icon Jon Jones won the vacant heavyweight title by submitting Gane in Round 1.

Jones and Ngannou have long gone back and forth on Twitter and in the media, with White previously accusing Jones of avoiding a fight with Ngannou. On Saturday, however, the UFC president claimed the opposite, leading Ngannou to write: “If you ever really want that Jon Jones fight to happen, reach out to @PeteMurrayPFL. Whenever, wherever.”

Ngannou also shared footage of White suggesting, after Ngannou had beaten Gane, that Jones had no desire to fight the Cameroonian.

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