ONE FC CEO pitched Francis Ngannou on becoming ‘Nelson Mendela’ of MMA

Francis Ngannou was the first UFC champion to become a free agent since BJ Penn in 2004. Naturally all the major promotions were interested even though some were aware that the asking price might exceed their funds.

A big storyline that transpired in lead up to Ngannou announcement that he signed a deal with PFL was his storyline with ONE FC and BKFC. Both promotions used Ngannou negotiations as a way to garner publicity and ultimately decided to turn a corner and try and hurt Ngannou’s stock once it became apparent that he set his sights on PFL.

Ngannou revealed in his appearance on the MMA Hour he felt ONE FC CEO was ‘performative’ in his courting.

“He was like, ‘Oh, I can fly you to Singapore, I can fly to Cameroon, I can this.’ He was all in,” Ngannou said. “I’m like, ‘Bro, this is too much. I cannot handle this.’”

And while Ngannou met with him – he insists he made no demands and wasn’t aware about the infamous $20M offer Sityadong claimed to have given him.

“I didn’t ask him anything. I listened to this guy talk,” Ngannou said.

Ngannou described how Sityodtong shared screenshots of data about ONE’s massive global reach that Ngannou questioned.

“I was like, ‘Damn, woah.’ He had a lot of those (screenshots),” Ngannou said. “I’m like, ‘Hold on a minute.’ Anyway, that was the whole meeting.”

“I had to drink like three or four cups of coffee, listening to all those statistics how ONE FC is in Asia, Asia is 4.6 billion people, they’re gonna do this, the data shows that. He was showing me how ONE FC is gonna explode, and (telling me) I’m gonna be like Nelson Mandela.”

“Hey, bro, it was a hell of a performance. I applaud Chatri for his performance.”

ONE FC infamously has the ‘Power slap’ approach to their statistics. They claim to be outperforming even UFC even though they’re fairly incapable of moving tickets even in their home town of Singapore.

At one point ONE FC tried to claim 20M viewers per card despite the underwhelming live numbers – while the cards were streamed live on youtube.