As it turns out, Francis Ngannou might not have fumbled the ball.
Francis Ngannou is the former UFC heavyweight champion and the lineal heavyweight champion of the world. He has created ripples in the world of mixed martial arts by signing an extraordinary contract with the PFL as per NY Times.
This groundbreaking deal marks the end of a highly publicized free agency period that brought pay disparity in the UFC to the forefront of the MMA landscape.
Ngannou and the PFL announced on Tuesday a strategic partnership that not only secures his equity stake in the MMA company but also grants him leadership roles.
Alongside his participation in the PFL, Ngannou will have the freedom to pursue boxing, a testament to his versatility and ambition within combat sports.
Ngannou expressed his enthusiasm for the deal during an interview.
“The past few months have been a very interesting time to understand and see the landscape but I’m very excited about this deal with the P.F.L. because they basically showed what I was expecting,” Ngannou told Times. “They didn’t just show up as a promotion that was looking for a fighter, but really came as a partner that sees more value in you as a person.”
The months leading up to this moment have provided Ngannou with a unique perspective on the combat sports landscape, making this partnership with the PFL all the more exciting.
As part of the agreement, Ngannou will assume the role of chairman of PFL Africa, a venture aimed at organizing events on the continent. Additionally, he will serve on the company’s advisory board to champion the interests of fellow stars.
Ngannou is set to join the PFL’s nascent Super Fight division, designed to attract competitors with more favorable terms than what is typically offered in the sport.
This new division offers enhanced financial guarantees and a more substantial share of the pay-per-view revenue, providing stars with greater earning potential.
Joining the likes of social media influencer-turned-boxer Jake Paul and Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison, Ngannou’s move to the PFL marks a significant shift in combat sports dynamics.
As vocal critics of the UFC’s payment structure, Ngannou and Paul are now aligning themselves with one of the UFC’s biggest competitors.
Ngannou’s desired terms included a salary increase and the ability to participate in boxing bouts.
“This is not an athlete deal. Francis is an icon today in the sport, he is the best in the world at what he does, but he’s in business with the P.F.L.,” PFL exec Peter Murray said. “We’re in business together.”
Ngannou was previously criticized when ONE FC tried to seize the narrative and claim that due to his exorbitant demands they backed out of a contract offer.
“They didn’t have much to offer more than a fighter and promotion contract, which was something that I wasn’t interested in,” Ngannou said of ONE’s contract offer. “I was looking into value and an impact and what I can bring it and attach also to my legacy.”
He added: “I think there was a lot of media play, and a lot of people just know that this game wasn’t big enough for this type of a deal, so they just stepped out.”
Ngannou is expected to appear on the MMA Hour today to discuss this latest development.