The tension between Ngannou and former coach Fernand Lopez appears to be higher than ever. Recently at UFC 268, Francis Ngannou was seen snubbing Ciryl Gane and his former head coach Fernand Lopez backstage. It was Lopez’s hard work with Ngannou that resulted in his transition from poverty to becoming a title contender in the UFC heavyweight division. Training in France’s top MMA gym and having a record of 5-1 in French highly recognized promotion, he was approached by UFC. He signed the contract with the UFC. After 6 fights and 6 wins, he fought for the gold for the first time.
The Predator left MMA Factory following his losses against Miocic and Lewis. In 2018 he joined Xtreme Couture. He trained there under the coach Eric Nicksick for another shot for the title. And the new approach worked. Ngannou was finally able to take seek revenge from Miocic and won the title in March 2021. However Ngannou’s new camp is definitely costly. One recent article revealed that Ngannou was resorting to loans to finance a fight camp.
During the recent interview with The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Fernand Lopez gave the details on the nasty split. The split was reportedly caused by Francis Ngannou not paying the gym membership.
“During the time that we live together, I asked him to step out of the gym twice, myself and Francis,” “When Francis fought against Anthony Hamilton [in 2016], that fight, I choose to not go. I said to him, ‘I’m not coaching you anymore, I need you to step out of the gym.’ Because Francis said to me, ‘There’s a guy who is calling to get money in the gym from fighters, membership.’ And Francis said to me, ‘I’m the one bringing the (spot)light in the gym. I shall not pay any membership.’”
“I said, ‘This is crazy.’ I mean, you must be crazy. You spent four years of your life, for free in my gym. I never asked you for anything, any penny. And now that you’re not poor anymore, and I keep bringing poor guys in my gym, there’s around 40 guys homeless in my gym, poor people, that I’m taking care of them. I call that ‘file zero.’ When a guy shows up in my gym, I send him to my secretary and I say, ‘Give him file zero.’ Means take him to the gym for free.”
“And I said ‘Okay, you become a successful man, you have money, you pay me 10 percent. On top of the 10 percent, you ask me to pay the sparring partner with that money that you give me. On top of that, you’re saying that that will be a shame to know that a big man like you is paying the membership.’ Do you know how much is the membership in a year in my gym? €600. €600 per year, one year. And he said, ‘No, I will not pay.’”
“So, I said, ‘You know what, you don’t listen to me anymore when I’m giving the class, you choose the easy way to train, please let’s just split.’ And he did.”
These comments come just after Lopez shared an incident where Ngannou was a bit cheap to his girlfriend.
Ciryl Gane has emerged from the MMA Factory. After the successful run in UFC, he is now interim heavyweight champion and holds a record of 10-0. Gane vs Ngannou is set for the title unification bout in January 2022. Gane is looking to avenge on behalf of his team following Ngannou’s behavior with Lopez. Lopez will be there with Gane in the corner.
Despite all this, Lopez has respect for Ngannou, and he is proud of his recent progress. But it looks like he doesn’t want to work with The Predator again in the future.