Francis Ngannou is widely regarded as one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in recent UFC history. Yet UFC excluded him from the promotion’s Black History Month tribute. And followed that up with a heavyweight title promo that barely even mentions him.
This news comes just a month after Ngannou parted ways with the UFC after the promotion was reluctant to agree to a shorter term deal. UFC typically likes to lock up talent in contract that lasts upwards of 5 years and have a number of clauses that allow for it to be extended sometimes even in perpetuity.
Ngannou has defeated some of the biggest names in the sport, including Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem, and Ciryl Gane, during his reign as champion.
The heavyweight champion has since vacated his belt and is now contemplating a $30M boxing outing as well as future in another MMA promotion. To put things into perspective, UFC was offering a multi year deal that would amount to about $8 million if Ngannou were to go undefeated and remain a champion.
The UFC, having cut most ties with Ngannou, has now dealt him another blow by not including him in any of their social media. In fact Ngannou is even questioning if he would be allowed to corner Kamaru Usman at UFC London or even just attend.
When asked about cornering his good friend Kamaru Usman at UFC 286, Ngannou told Schmo:
“Unfortunately, no. And to be honest, I don’t even know if I will have access to that event. Do you think? “
“But just messing around, but I don’t know. I don’t think so. Unfortunately, even though I would have liked to.”
The video features some of the most iconic fighters from the modern era, including Jon Jones, Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman, and Aljamain Sterling. However, even former champion Demetrious Johnson, who has not fought under the UFC banner since 2018, is included in the tribute.
Many fans and mixed martial artists are displeased with Ngannou’s exclusion.
UFC star Luke Rockhold even led the protest, stating that “Francis Ngannou is the most historical black figure in MMA.”
Amazing, managed to make an entire Countdown without mentioning Ngannou at all. It's amazing. They memory holed Ngannou completely. pic.twitter.com/24PxDiS5Ek
— David Burnell (@ThisIsNotDSP) February 26, 2023
Some fans believe that this may be a reaction to Ngannou’s difficult departure from the promotion. Regardless, Ngannou is expected to receive a multitude of offers from other promotions as he considers a career outside of the UFC, including a potential boxing match against Deontay Wilder in Africa.
— Mellem™ (@mellem_esq) February 28, 2023
Previously, UFC used similar tactics to erase the influence of Demetrius Johnson, Tito Ortiz and other detractors.