UFC reportedly softened stance on Francis Ngannou after he left CAA management agency

UFC is a phenomenon in MMA space. While most promotions lose money throwing events, UFC is wildly profitable which opened the door for the 6 billion dollar sale.

UFC’s owners are Endeavor (formerly known as William Morris Endeavor), a powerful management company that deals with Hollywood stars predominantly.

Endeavor is crucial for the Francis Ngannou negotiations due to the fact he was formerly represented by Endeavor’s biggest rival, Creative artists agency aka CAA.

Ngannou was represented by a former UFC employee Marquel Martin. And for a while there it seemed like Ngannou was destined for free agency with UFC trying to build up his opponents in addition to contentious negotiations and anonymous text threats.

But there’s hope on the horizon. While Ngannou is still represented by Martin, he’s since left CAA and formed his own agency. Ngannou followed along with him.

This allowed for UFC to turn a new leaf in negotiations, as confirmed by MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani.

“Francis is about to become a free agent,” he said.

“But I’m hearing that talks are actually pretty good. And you know, you saw Eric Nicksick, his coach referenced March 4, I’ve been saying this.”

“How long have I been saying if they couldn’t get a fight in December for Jones, the March early pay-per-view was when they were going to try to do Jones? The newest stuff is that he’s no longer, Francis, represented by CAA. That opens the door to Endeavor wanting to do business.”

Helwani believes that the change in counsel may make Endeavor more willing to bargain with Ngannou. Although Helwani believes his choices may be limited there, the boxing aspect may still be a problem.

“I feel right now very confident that he’s going to resign. Plus, there’s no Fury fight out there. Unless Fury gets on the mic on Saturday after beating Chisora for the third time, which we all expect is going to happen, and says, Francis, where are you at? It doesn’t seem like Fury is into that anymore, right? He has this change of heart.”

“He wants to fight. He wants big fights. He wants to keep going. I would be shocked. Where’s Francis going? Where’s he going? Doesn’t have the leverage that maybe we thought he did.”

Helwani is certain that the UFC will close the deal and that Ngnanou vs. Jones will be scheduled for the unspecified March PPV event.