The UFC appears reluctant to showcase Kamaru Usman’s endorsement of Francis Ngannou during the recent episode of UFC 294 Embedded. This episode primarily focused on Usman’s rapid preparation to face Khamzat Chimaev in an unexpected middleweight showdown in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
It’s no secret that Ngannou’s departure from the UFC was marked by strained relations. Following failed contract negotiations over several months, Ngannou left the organization earlier this year after giving up his title.
Subsequently, the Cameroonian mixed martial artist inked a deal with the PFL. He is now poised to make his boxing debut against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on October 28 in Riyadh.
The close friendship and personal connection between Francis Ngannou and Kamaru Usman is well-known. So it came as no surprise to witness Usman wearing a custom-designed tee in solidarity with Ngannou. However, the UFC had a different stance on the matter.
Screenshots from the UFC 294 Embedded episode were shared by MMA-based X handle @BloodyElbow. The pictures revealed a deliberate blurring of a section of Usman’s t-shirt.
This move seemed aimed at avoiding any promotion of Ngannou’s upcoming boxing match. Fans quickly flooded the comments section, expressing their opinions on this decision.
One fan astutely pointed out the lingering resentment the UFC holds towards Francis Ngannou, remarking, “They are super salty.”
Another fan echoed this sentiment, stating: “UFC is hating hard on Ngannou.”
UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns possesses firsthand experience in facing Khamzat Chimaev inside the octagon. The Brazilian combatant notably became the sole athlete to go the distance against Chimaev at UFC 273, ultimately succumbing to a unanimous decision loss.
With Chimaev now set to square off against Kamaru Usman at UFC 294, many within the MMA community view Usman as a more formidable threat to Chimaev’s unblemished record.
Burns recently spoke about the bout between Khamzat Chimaev and Kamaru Usman in a video that was posted on his YouTube channel.
He said: “Kamaru has the bigger reach in this fight, plus the experience and everything… Now, it changes everything. Now, the guy has a bigger reach. Now, the guy has more experience. Now, we have to figure out a wrestler. Such a small amount of time to adapt your game. Oh, it changed so much. You guys have no idea. On a short notice fight, a lot of things change super quick.”