Dana White shuts down future negotiations with Francis Ngannou: ‘He’ll never be in the UFC again’
Francis Ngannou will never fight in the UFC again.
This is from Dana White, who stated emphatically that after contract negotiations, Ngannou was unable to bring Ngannou back under a new deal and the UFC is not interested in future negotiations to bring him back. With the two sides unable to reach an agreement, Ngannou relinquished the UFC heavyweight title and now remains a free agent with the option to sign with any other promotion in the world.
“We’ve been talking to him for years,” White said. answered when asked if the UFC would ever try to re-sign Ngannou. “It’s over. This is the end. He will never be in the UFC again.”
While he didn’t directly respond to comments, Ngannou didn’t appear to be overly concerned, judging by his social media post following White’s interview after the UFC 285 weigh-in.
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) March 4, 2023
With Ngannou gone, the UFC moved quickly to set up a new heavyweight title fight as Cyril Gein will now take on Jon Jones on Saturday with the vacant belt on the line.
Gein will get a second opportunity to become champion after previously capturing the interim title but then lost to Ngannou via unanimous decision at UFC 270, who will make his heavyweight debut at UFC 285.
White says Gein was a natural choice for the opportunity when Ngannou decided to test free rein.
“When Francis didn’t take the John fight, Cyril was the #1 guy in the world,” White said. “This fight between these two was razor thin, so John comes in and fights the absolute best heavyweight.
“If you think about Francis, Francis was the underdog against John and Cyril started out as the favorite. This fight is important for Jon Jones and Cyril. If Cyril can beat Jon Jones, that’s a big deal.”
Despite White’s claims, Ngannou actually became the favorite over Jones at most established bookmakers when odds were offered for a potential match. In fact, at BetOnline.ag, Ngannou was the favorite at -220 and Jones was the underdog at +180.
As for the Gein fight on Saturday, Jones started out as a slight underdog at DraftKings but was otherwise favored by most other bookmakers. With only a few hours left before UFC 285, Jones is the clear favorite across the board.
Regardless, Jones and Gein will fight for the vacant title and Ngannou will obviously not be able to fight either of them again.
Add to that the UFC 285 main event winner will already have an opponent waiting for him after White confirmed that former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will next face either Jones or Gein.
“He’s absolutely next,” White said. “Whoever wins on Saturday night will face Stipe next.”