Francis Ngannou’s MMA mentor, Eric Nicksick, has fired back at Chael Sonnen’s comments regarding his fighter’s departure from the UFC.
Many have voiced their opinions that the UFC missed a significant opportunity with Ngannou, especially after his close showdown with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Sonnen, however, has remained a vocal critic of this perspective, believing that “The Predator” squandered a lucrative UFC contract.
In a recent interview, Sonnen argued that the money Ngannou is currently earning isn’t substantially greater than what he could have earned had he fought the current UFC heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. He also suggested that Ngannou could have made that much money by being more active in the UFC.
“To make believe that $10 million is somehow significantly more than he would’ve got on his pay-per-view participation alone against Jon Jones is incorrect. Not to mention the two years that he sat equals six fights. Let’s bring it back and call it five. And making it really easy, let’s call it four fights. His four fights would’ve equaled $10 million had he promoted them.”
However, during an appearance on the “WEIGHING IN” podcast, Coach Eric Nicksick highlighted the flaw in Sonnen’s argument.
“Chael made an interesting point about how he would be correct if he wasn’t injured and had the time to actually compete in the fights he’s talking about,” Nicksick explained. “On the other hand, we were offered $8 million to fight Jon Jones, that’s correct. But the sticking point was, what if he potentially lost to Jon Jones? How would that affect his contract?”
“It’s about setting yourself up correctly and ensuring you’re safeguarded on the backend. Some people don’t grasp the business side of things. So, ultimately, I understand what Chael was saying, had we been able to complete four fights in the last year, but due to his knee injury, we had a minor setback with a knee cleanup in April. Then we were able to return to training. So, had he been able to fight, it probably would have followed a similar timeline, potentially facing Jon Jones in September or October.”