“That’s f*****g illegal” is an infamous line uttered by Dana White.
It’s also probably what Dana White thought when he heard that the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou and his representation talked to another one of his sworn enemies former UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian. Bidarian seem to have parted ways with the UFC amicably – however he is now a representative of Jake Paul which has been a big point of contention for White. Interestingly, Ngannou is represented by another White employee in Marquel Martin.
It is no secret that the champion Francis Ngannou has been trying to get a more fair contract for the majority of the last two years. The issue arose after Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic last March to claim the heavyweight crown.
Ngannou’s manager was hardballing the organization when it came to contract extension which led to a lot of controversy. For one – UFC crowned an interim champion in the Frenchman Cyril Gane and scheduled a title unification bout hoping to get leverage on Ngannou.
This maneuver by the UFC shocked the public and Ngannou. He felt the UFC disrespected him as a champion.
“It’s OK, but I think at this point regarding my last run, I deserve at least some respect as a UFC champion.” said Ngannou last August.
The war between Ngannou and the UFC heated up after Ngannou said he wouldn’t fight under the previous contract terms, and was publicly calling out boxers Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
The feud peaked in lead up to UFC 270 – in fact right as he was about to enter the arena in California where UFC 270 was held. Ngannou revealed to Helwani (transcript by sportskaeeda):
“Going into this [UFC 270] fight, going into the arena, like, I dress up, I put my suit, and I walk to my room, waiting for my manager and my coach. And they were like, ‘Wow!’ And I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ They told me that they just received an email from the UFC saying that they’re going to sue him [Marquel Martin] from talking with this guy Nakisa [Bidarian]. Yeah. And I’m like, ‘Who’s Nakisa?’ They was telling, ‘I don’t know him pretty much, but somebody from Jake Paul’s team.’”
One member of the MMA community on twitter had an astute remark about the incident :
” The fact that Dana had The UFC text Francis ON THE WAY TO THE ARENA to say they’re suing him for talking to Jake Paul’s manager is pathetic.
This is bordering on interfering with results. The UFC tried EVERYTHING to make Ngannou lose..no wonder Dana didn’t show up to the presser”
The fact that Dana had The UFC text Francis ON THE WAY TO THE ARENA to say they’re suing him for talking to Jake Paul’s manager is pathetic.
This is bordering on interfering with results. The UFC tried EVERYTHING to make Ngannou lose..no wonder Dana didn’t show up to the presser
— The MMA Dude™ (@philthemmadude) January 25, 2022
It’s unclear if the UFC will actually file a lawsuit against Martin or Ngannou but it certainly paints an interesting picture. How much of UFC’s global presence is astro turfed on social media? Was Diego Sanchez 100% wrong when he accused internet commenters of being UFC’s bots?