The UFC threatened to sue Francis Ngannou’s agent simply hours earlier than Ngannou was set to compete in a heavyweight title battle Saturday evening, Ngannou stated Monday on “The MMA Hour.”
Ngannou stated he was getting wearing preparation to go to Honda Heart in Anaheim, California, on Saturday when his agent, Marquel Martin, advised him that the UFC despatched Martin an e-mail threatening to sue him.
The UFC’s allegation within the e-mail, Ngannou stated, was that Martin mentioned Ngannou competing in boxing with Nakisa Bidarian, the enterprise companion of Jake Paul, whereas underneath UFC contract.
A supply with data of the scenario confirmed with ESPN the timing and contents of the e-mail. Martin is an agent with Inventive Artists Company (CAA).
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“I walked into the room ready for my supervisor, my coach,” Ngannou stated on “The MMA Hour.” “And so they have been like, ‘Wow.’ I’m like, ‘What’s happening?’ They advised me they simply acquired an e-mail from the UFC saying they’re going to sue [Martin] for speaking with this man, Nakisa. Yeah. I’m like, ‘Who’s Nakisa?’”
Bidarian is the previous UFC chief monetary officer, the present adviser to Paul and the co-founder of Paul’s Most Worthwhile Promotions firm. Ngannou stated he talks about boxing with lots of people — he has stated publicly many instances it’s his dream to field — however doesn’t know who Bidarian is.
“I wouldn’t acknowledge him in case you put him in entrance of me,” Ngannou stated.
Bidarian, Martin and the UFC all declined touch upon the matter.
Ngannou ended up unifying the UFC heavyweight title with a unanimous resolution win over interim champion Ciryl Gane in the principle occasion of UFC 270. UFC president Dana White went towards customized and didn’t wrap the belt round Ngannou’s waist, and surprisingly didn’t come to the postfight information convention.
The UFC and Ngannou have been at odds over Ngannou’s contract for months. Had Ngannou misplaced, his contract would have expired and he would have been a free agent. As a result of he gained to retain the UFC heavyweight title, the promoter’s “champions clause” kicks in, which means Ngannou stays underneath contract for another yr or three fights, whichever comes earlier.
Ngannou has stated that he’s keen to carry out for a complete yr somewhat than compete once more on this contract, which he stated Monday pays him solely $600,000 per battle. The foundation of Ngannou’s problem with the UFC, he stated, just isn’t fully monetary. He stated on “The MMA Hour” that he turned down about $7 million over the previous two fights, as a result of accepting that deal would have meant tacking on extra fights to his contract, which he was not keen to do underneath the circumstances.
Ngannou stated he want to stick with the UFC but additionally compete in boxing whereas doing so, one thing, that apart from Conor McGregor’s boxing match towards Floyd Mayweather, the promotion has by no means let its athletes do. Ngannou stated it’s a query of “freedom” as an impartial contractor, which UFC fighters are legally categorized as.
“The time period of the contract, all the pieces that they put into [it], they maintain you want in captivity,” Ngannou stated. “You possibly can’t do something, you don’t have any rights. The contract is one-sided. … You don’t even have medical insurance whilst you’re doing this, placing your physique on the road to placed on the present. Risking all the pieces.”
Ngannou, 35, stated he understands the shortage of medical insurance as an impartial contractor, “however deal with me as such then,” he stated.
“You may be free and battle for the UFC,” Ngannou stated. “I simply wish to be free. We’re supposedly impartial contractors. [An] impartial contractor is technically a free individual. That’s the explanation why they want some changes in that contract. That’s what I’ve been combating for.”
Ngannou got here into the Gane battle with a torn proper MCL and broken ACL, he stated Saturday evening. He’ll want surgical procedure, so he’s probably prolonged day off. Ngannou nonetheless stated he want to battle once more this yr regardless of the harm and contract scenario.
The long run for the world’s prime heavyweight MMA fighter may be very a lot in flux, although.
Ngannou stated he didn’t acquire any extra readability after beating Gane. Nobody from the UFC has approached him or Martin to debate a brand new contract, Ngannou stated.
“It doesn’t appear to be they wish to speak to me anymore,” Ngannou stated.
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