Jon Jones will be facing Cyril Gane on March 4th at the UFC 285 event, and the winner will be crowned the new UFC heavyweight champion. This raises questions about the current champion, Francis Ngannou's status in the division.
“We’ve been negotiating with him for more than two years. We offered Francis a deal that would’ve made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the company – more than [Brock] Lesnar, more than anybody.
And he turned the deal down. stated Dana White It is significant for the UFC to not have a heavyweight champion, especially when that champion still has several years of top-level performance ahead of him. A year ago, it was clear that the UFC and Francis Ngannou would have difficulty coming to an agreement.
The Dispute between Francis and UFC
Ngannou was clear and persistent in his demands that a boxing match be included in his new contract, which the UFC executives were not willing to agree to. They believed it would set a precedent for other champions to seek more freedom and opportunities in other sports or MMA organizations.
At a time when the UFC is considered the best MMA organization and is in a strong position to dictate terms, such contracts are not a desirable option. “We’re going to release him from his contract, give up our right to match.
He can go wherever he wants, do whatever he wants. I think Francis is at a place right now, where he doesn’t want to take a risk. He feels like he can fight lesser opponents and make more money. Dana white said “The guy weighs over 300 lbs, just had knee surgery, hasn’t had a real training camp.
I think that probably has a lot to do with it. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen with his knee, he’s not getting younger. said Dana. "It’s not like this is something that has never happened before.
There’s been other guys that have come to us and said, 'I don’t want to compete at this level anymore'”. said White.