Israel Adesanya brands Francis Ngannou’s pay ‘atrocious’ but is hopeful UFC can agree new deal to keep ‘baddest mother****** on the planet’ amid contract dispute
- Francis Ngannou could leave UFC without fighting again when contract expires
- Heavyweight champion is currently expected to be out injured for 10 months
- Pay dispute means he may not strike a fresh deal with the organisation
- Israel Adesanya wants Ngannou to stay rather than chase boxing matches
Israel Adesanya has branded Francis Ngannou’s pay as ‘atrocious’ and says it would be ‘sad’ if the heavyweight champion leaves the UFC.
Ngannou, who defeated Ciryl Gane to retain his title at UFC 270, has been engaged in a pay dispute with the organisation for more than a year and could be a free agent in 2023.
The champion is expected to be out of action for at least 10 months while he recovers from an ACL injury, meaning fans may not see him in the octagon again.
Francis Ngannou is one of the UFC’s biggest stars but could leave the organisation
Ngannou defeated Ciryl Gane (left) to retain his heavyweight title at UFC 270
Adesanya spoke about the issue on the MMA Hour, saying: ‘I felt like some of the stuff that was happening before the Francis fight, I was not a fan of.
‘I just felt like certain things should — like I said, this is business, man. You can’t get too personal.
‘This is just business. And money’s always around, there’s money everywhere. You can find money everywhere. So for the heavyweight champion of the world in the UFC to be getting paid what he was getting paid was atrocious.
Ngannou’s purse for the win over Gane was £440,000, though he will have earned far more in pay-per-view money.
It is not just money he is arguing with the UFC over as the Cameroon native wants the chance to be able to box the likes of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for huge paydays.
Adesanya understands Ngannou’s interest in the crossover bouts but wants him to keep doing what he does best in the octagon.
Israel Adesanya (left) says it would be ‘sad’ if Ngannou cannot reach terms with the UFC
He went on: ‘I don’t want him to leave the UFC. It’d just be sad. I just, I feel like this is the guy, you know? Look at him. And he’s one of the three kings. I just don’t [want him to leave]. Maybe I’m being selfish. But I just feel like I don’t even want him to box.
‘Well, he wants to box — if he does, he should box. He can figure out something with the UFC and the contract. They let [Conor] McGregor do it, so they can figure something out.
‘But I just don’t him want to box. I’m like, you’re the baddest motherf*cker on the planet.
Adesanya is one of the ‘Three Kings’ along with Kamaru Usman and Ngannou
‘You know? I don’t want him to just use his hands. If you really want to fight Francis, fight him. You know? And Tyson’s the kind of guy that might do that. He’s crazy. ‘Gypsy King,’ he might do that.
‘I just feel like this is the top level of fighting. I’m not being biased. I don’t care about kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, boxing — whatever style of fighting that you do alone, if it’s singular, it’s a limited form of fighting.
‘If you want to fight legally, this is the way to do it. The UFC is the place to do it, where it’s like the highest level of fighting.’