Ngannou Explains Gane Snub, Thinks UFC Set The Whole Thing Up

Francis Ngannou has explained his viral backstage snub of former training partner Ciryl Gane, and he says there’s more than what meets the eye.

One of the stories that came out of UFC 268 had nothing to do with all the in-cage action. A backstage n…

Francis Ngannou, Ciryl Gane

Francis Ngannou has explained his viral backstage snub of former training partner Ciryl Gane, and he says there’s more than what meets the eye.

One of the stories that came out of UFC 268 had nothing to do with all the in-cage action. A backstage non-encounter between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane widely made the rounds over the internet, with Ngannou shown walking straight past Gane without even a trace of acknowledgment.

Gane himself was flabbergasted by the whole scene, summing his thoughts up in three short words: “Why? Just why?”

In an interview with Daniel Cormier that dropped Wednesday, Ngannou explained why. And as it happens, it wasn’t a snub of Ciryl Gane after all, but rather one of the other figures seen in the video, Ngannou’s ex-head coach and Gane’s current coach, Fernand Lopez.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to say hi. I feel like I didn’t want to say hi for my sake,” Ngannou said. “Well, it’s been a couple years now that [Lopez is] out there picking on me. I mean, like, yeah, I want to be nice, but when I saw him in that position, I [had] a few thoughts. I’m like, ‘OK, should I say hi? Then, I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I might go closer and say hi and somehow you will hear that I said [something I didn’t say].

Coach Fernand Lopez Says Dana White Was Telling The Truth About Francis  Ngannou Having An Ego Problem
Fernand Lopez (left) and Francis Ngannou (right)

“Getting close to him was giving an opportunity for him—not only the fact that I’m sure that he didn’t need me to say hi, but it was giving him an opportunity to again say something that I didn’t say. So I’d rather stay in the distance. So it was good that the camera was there. They couldn’t say, ‘Francis said this,’ right? That was for my sake. I needed that. No, not like Francis say this. Maybe you can stand there. If we have to talk, we talk here. But once again, I don’t have a need—it’s not like we’re friendly. He’s attacking me all the time. Like, I can’t do that.”

Ngannou’s concerns may be warranted here, as Lopez has certainly made many accusations against his former fighter as of late. Among them, he claimed that Ngannou nudged the UFC not to sign Ciryl Gane, that Ngannou still owes gym fees to him, and he also stated that he’d rather coach Gane for free than work with Ngannou again for $100,000.

Ngannou also clarified that he has no issues at all with Gane. And as for Gane’s confusion on the whole matter goes, Ngannou says he would have had the same reaction if he were in Gane’s shoes. That said, had it only been Gane standing there, Ngannou assures that we would have seen a much less frigid video.

“I would have been confused to,” Ngannou said. “Because if I walk by Gane, I would say hi. If it’s just him, I would say ‘Hi, what’s up…’

“And if I say hi to them without saying hi to Fernand and then they respond, I think that might cause them a problem as well. So it just was a very confusing situation.”

Francis Ngannou Believes The Backstage Run-In Was Set Up By UFC Officials

After explaining #Snubgate, Ngannou wold then make a bombshell accusation. The UFC heavyweight champion says he is convinced the UFC set it up so that he would cross paths with Gane and Lopez. When an incredulous Daniel Cormier nearly refused to hear Ngannou’s reasoning out of sheer disbelief, Ngannou insisted that he present his evidence.

“There was this lady taking us to our seat. And she was bringing us to this section, and then they talked to her over the radio. And then [she said], ‘Oh, sorry, I’m wrong.’ So she turned around and we get back [and Gane and Lopez are standing right there]. I mean, tell me how this can be a coincidence…

“And when you look, by the time I come from the corner, the guy was ready with his camera. Like, if you watch that video, he was on me by the time I turned around the corner and just zooming on me like, ‘Oh, he’s there! He’s coming!’ [makes music sound] Like this movie scene! He was there waiting for [me]! It’s not like you see somebody and you’re like, ‘Oh, [it’s] them, let me film.’ Like, come on. His camera wasn’t just there ready to film something if ever something happened. No, he’s waiting.”

Backstage drama and conspiracy theories aside, arguably the two very best heavyweights in the world will compete at UFC 270 on January 22. This heavyweight blockbuster will be a title unification bout between Ngannou and Gane.

Yesterday, the UFC dropped the official poster for the event, which you can peep below.

May be an image of 2 people, indoor and text that says 'CHA UFC HAMP 270 AMP FOR THE HEAVYWEIGHT THRONE NGANNOU VS GANE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP JAN 22 SATURDAY ON PPV HONDA Center.'

Do you believe the UFC set up the backstage encounter between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane?

Continue Reading Ngannou Explains Gane Snub, Thinks UFC Set The Whole Thing Up at MMA News.

Lopez Would Rather Train Gane For Free Than Ngannou for $100,000

Francis Ngannou’s former coach Fernand Lopez has suggested he’d rather train Ciryl Gane for free than reunite with “The Predator” for $100,000.

Ngannou began his career in MMA under the tutelage of Lopez at the renowned MMA Factory gym in Paris, Fr…

Francis Ngannou & Fernand Lopez, Ciryl Gane & Fernand Lopez

Francis Ngannou’s former coach Fernand Lopez has suggested he’d rather train Ciryl Gane for free than reunite with “The Predator” for $100,000.

Ngannou began his career in MMA under the tutelage of Lopez at the renowned MMA Factory gym in Paris, France. After a spell in jail and a period living on the streets following his release, the Cameroonian was taken in by Lopez , who allowed the powerhouse to train and sleep in his gym for no cost.

After going 5-1 across the Pacific, Ngannou was signed by the UFC in 2015, and secured his first title shot on MMA’s biggest stage following six straight finishes. After falling short of gold against Stipe Miocic, and suffering a second consecutive loss at the hands of Derrick Lewis seven months later, Ngannou had an unceremonious split from MMA Factory.

Now under the guidance of Eric Nicksick at Xtreme Couture, Ngannou has scaled the heavyweight mountaintop. But while “The Predator” has fought his way to the title, a new product out of MMA Factory has been stalking him from below.

In just three years in the sport, Gane has developed a unique heavyweight style, made it to the UFC, defeated the likes of Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Alexander Volkov, and capitalized on Ngannou’s inability to defend the belt in August this year to become the interim champ.

With his victory over Lewis at UFC 265, “Bon Gamin” set up a blockbuster unification bout with his former teammate, which is set to headline UFC 270 next January.

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Lopez Has No Desire To Train Ngannou Again

Given the history between the heavyweight king and MMA Factory, the clash between Ngannou and Gane was always going to bring up some of the disagreements and tension between the two camps in the build-up. However, not many would have expected that to hit the metaphorical front pages so soon.

It started at Madison Square Garden at UFC 268. Gane and Lopez, who were in attendance to corner middleweight prospect Nassourdine Imavov, can be seen standing backstage in a clip that went viral towards the end of the November 5 pay-per-view. In the video, Ngannou walks past his former coach and teammates without even acknowledging them. A confused Gane questioned the snub at the time and in a later interview with MMA Junkie.

After the interim champ responded, Lopez also gave his take during an appearance on The MMA Hour. After making multiple revelations about Ngannou’s time at his gym, including the heavyweight’s refusal to pay a membership fee once he started earning money and his attempt to prevent the UFC from signing Gane, the 43-year-old responded to those who think he is simply jealous of Ngannou’s success at his new gym.

After insisting that the real issue is the misconception about his attitude towards the animosity, Lopez suggested he’d rather train Gane for free than coach Ngannou again for $100,000.

“Okay, let me put it simple. If I have to sit tomorrow with Francis, talk with him (and) work with him, about something else, not training, I can’t train with him, but I can do a bunch of things with him; it’s not a problem for me. Yeah, I will appreciate this to be the past because I don’t keep that in my mind.

“What is frustrating is the misunderstanding of what’s going on. It’s not the problem that we have or the issue that we have, the frustrating point is people do not know what’s going on and they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s jealous.’ Why should I be jealous? I would prefer, if they give me right now $100,000 to go train him (Ngannou) for 10 minutes or train Ciryl for free, I will train him (Gane) for free.”

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Lopez went on to claim that similar to how Ngannou is happier at Xtreme Couture, he’s content with the crop of talented and loving fighters he has at MMA Factory. With that in mind, the renowned coach reiterated that he expects nothing from Ngannou anymore.

“I’m happy for him (Ngannou). This is the thing, having a gym is not about good coach or bad coach, it’s about where you feel good. Francis do feel good with Xtreme Couture; perfect, for him. I’m very glad for him… In my way, I find my way. Which is, I have tons of guys, very nice, bringing me so much love… When you ask me that will bring me back to the situation that people do not understand… no. I do not expect anything from him. He’s a nice guy in some parts, in other parts he’s not that nice.”

While the upcoming clash between Gane and Ngannou was already an exciting one, the backstage snub, coupled with the interim champ and Lopez’s responses, has made for an even more intriguing storyline heading into UFC 270.

Who do you think will leave Anaheim with the unified heavyweight title in January, Ciryl Gane or Francis Ngannou?

Continue Reading Lopez Would Rather Train Gane For Free Than Ngannou for $100,000 at MMA News.

Francis Ngannou Advised UFC Against Signing Ciryl Gane Says Coach

Francis NgannouThings are starting to heat up ahead of Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane. The former teammates are expected to clash at UFC 270 with the winner being crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion. At UFC 268, Ngannou sensationally snubbed his Gane and his old team as he walked right by them without even glancing in their […]

Francis Ngannou

Things are starting to heat up ahead of Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane.

The former teammates are expected to clash at UFC 270 with the winner being crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion.

At UFC 268, Ngannou sensationally snubbed his Gane and his old team as he walked right by them without even glancing in their direction. The moment was caught on camera and has since gone viral, with ‘Bon Gamin’ since speaking about his confusion following the incident.

Fernand Lopez Accuses Francis Ngannou Of Sabotaging His Teammate

Fernand Lopez, who is the head coach at MMA Factory where Ngannou used to train and Gane still does, has added more heat to the rivalry by claiming ‘The Predator’ strategically advised the UFC against signing his next opponent.

“At the time (the start of Ngannou’s career), what I was doing was that every time they (MMA Factory fighters in the UFC) had an interview, I will ask them to drop the name of Francis Ngannou; name-drop him,” Lopez said on The MMA Hour. “So every time that they will get caught in an interview, they will say, ‘Oh, we have so much good talent, you will know, soon enough you will know Francis Ngannou.’ That’s how I was trying to build his name… That’s how I used to push guys.

“As a matter of fact, I did do the same for Ciryl Gane… I tried to sign him with Mick Maynard,” Lopez added. And you know what, Francis went back to Vegas and he said to me, ‘Hey, I had Mick and he asked me if young guy in my gym name Ciryl Gane is good.’ And I said, ‘Oh yeah, he did? He said, ‘Yes, but you know what, because that people in the matchmaking, because they expect me to be very, very dithyrambic on the name of the guy, I didn’t say that, I said he’s a little bit good, but he’s not good yet to go to the UFC.’ That’s coming from Francis Ngannou’s mouth. For him, that’s a strategy to do not have Mick Maynard get suspicious of me and him being on the same page, which is not true.” (Transcribed by MMA News)

How do you see Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane playing out?

Coach Claims Francis Ngannou Advised The UFC Not To Sign Ciryl Gane

Francis Ngannou’s former coach Fernand Lopez has accused the UFC Heavyweight Champion of downplaying Ciryl Gane’s abilities to the UFC while the pair were teammates.

After transitioning from poverty to superstardom under the tutelage of Lopez at Fr…

Francis Ngannou, Fernand Lopez & Ciryl Gane

Francis Ngannou’s former coach Fernand Lopez has accused the UFC Heavyweight Champion of downplaying Ciryl Gane’s abilities to the UFC while the pair were teammates.

After transitioning from poverty to superstardom under the tutelage of Lopez at France’s famed MMA Factory gym, Ngannou moved to the United States and rose to the top of the heavyweight mountain with Xtreme Couture’s Eric Nicksick behind the wheel. Since losing back-to-back fights to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis in 2018, “The Predator” has been on a brutal tear in the division, leaving the bodies of Cain Velasquez, Curtis Blaydes, Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Miocic in his wake.

While Ngannou surged to the top of the food chain, Lopez and MMA Factory have developed a new star from across the Pacific. In less than four years, Gane has made the transition to MMA from Muay Thai, signed for the UFC, and won interim gold. By defeating Lewis at UFC 265, “Bon Gamin” set up a unification fight with Ngannou, which is set to go down at UFC 270 in January 2022.

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Lopez Questions Ngannou’s Intentions

While the anticipation for the clash has been high ever since it was on the table, and the history surrounding Ngannou’s departure from France’s biggest gym is well-known, the rivalry and storyline has been enhanced over the last week. It began with an awkward backstage encounter at UFC 268.

While Ngannou was in attendance to support his fellow African champion Kamaru Usman, Lopez and Gane cornered Nassourdine Imavov for his fight against Edmen Shahbazyan. A video was released towards the end of the event that showed the heavyweight champ walking past the MMA Factory team without acknowledging them.

After Gane expressed his disappointment at his peer’s attitude, Fernand Lopez has also addressed the incident and his history with Ngannou. During an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, the 42-year-old discussed the backstage snub, as well as claiming he kicked the Cameroonian out of his gym for refusing to pay the membership fee.

In another revelation, Lopez told Helwani that before Gane was signed by the UFC, matchmaker Mick Maynard asked Ngannou about the Frenchman, who was his teammate at the time. According to the coach, Ngannou told Maynard “Bon Gamin” wasn’t good enough for the UFC.

“At the time (the start of Ngannou’s career), what I was doing was that every time they (MMA Factory fighters in the UFC) had an interview, I will ask them to drop the name of Francis Ngannou; name-drop him. So every time that they will get caught in an interview, they will say, ‘Oh, we have so much good talent, you will know, soon enough you will know Francis Ngannou.’ That’s how I was trying to build his name… That’s how I used to push guys.

“As a matter of fact, I did do the same for Ciryl Gane… I tried to sign him with Mick Maynard. And you know what, Francis went back to Vegas and he said to me, ‘Hey, I had Mick and he asked me if young guy in my gym name Ciryl Gane is good.’ And I said, ‘Oh yeah, he did? He said, ‘Yes, but you know what, because that people in the matchmaking, because they expect me to be very, very dithyrambic on the name of the guy, I didn’t say that, I said he’s a little bit good, but he’s not good yet to go to the UFC.’ That’s coming from Francis Ngannou’s mouth. For him, that’s a strategy to do not have Mick Maynard get suspicious of me and him being on the same page, which is not true.”

Quoting actor Denzel Washington, Lopez questioned Ngannou’s decision not to make the most of an opportunity to bring one of his teammates into the UFC with him. Among other things, Lopez said the champ’s decision not to promote Gane was one of the factors behind his deteriorating relationship with Ngannou.

“The only thing we can say about that is that you had the opportunity to drag a new guy, coming from your gym, in(to) the UFC, and you felt the liberty to say to the matchmaking that the guy could become a good guy, but for now, he’s not good enough. That’s why I’m finding. It’s not about him in or out of my gym, I’m so proud of him to go to Erick Nicksick… But what I’m finding here is that at some point in the life, Denzel Washington was saying… ‘When I got to the heaven, God would ask me, which motherfucker did you pull from your community?’ Who did you drag with you? Who did Francis drag with him? No one.”

What do you make of Fernand Lopez’s claims that Ngannou rejected the opportunity to encourage the UFC to sign his teammate?

Continue Reading Coach Claims Francis Ngannou Advised The UFC Not To Sign Ciryl Gane at MMA News.

Coach Fernand Lopez Claims Ngannou Refused To Pay Gym Membership

Coach Fernand Lopez has revealed he kicked UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou out of the MMA Factory gym after “The Predator” refused to pay the membership fee.

Tensions between Ngannou and his former team appear to be as high as ever. Under …

Fernand Lopez, Francis Ngannou & Fernand Lopez

Coach Fernand Lopez has revealed he kicked UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou out of the MMA Factory gym after “The Predator” refused to pay the membership fee.

Tensions between Ngannou and his former team appear to be as high as ever. Under the tutelage of Lopez in Paris, the Cameroonian was able to transition from poverty to a global status as one of the best heavyweights in mixed martial arts. After going 5-1, largely fighting in regional French promotions, Ngannou was signed by the UFC in 2016. After six fights and six finishes, including a brutal knockout against perennial contender Alistair Overeem, he fought for gold for the first time.

Having fallen to consecutive defeats against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, Ngannou eventually left MMA Factory and made a second run for the title with Xtreme Couture’s Eric Nicksick at the helm. After tearing through the division, “The Predator” exacted revenge on Miocic at UFC 260 this year, and had UFC gold wrapped around his waist for the first time.

Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou Image Credit: MMA JUNKIE

Meanwhile, a new star was emerging out of Lopez’s famed French gym. After transitioning to MMA from Muay Thai in 2018, Ciryl Gane rapidly rose up the UFC ladder, winning the interim title in August after just two years in the promotion. In doing so, he’s set up a blockbuster unification bout with former teammate Ngannou.

Despite still being months out from the clash, the stage was set with a viral video that came out of UFC 268 last weekend. A backstage clip shows Ngannou walking past his former coach and teammates backstage inside Madison Square Garden. The champ proceeded past Lopez, Gane, and Nassourdine Imavov without so much as a glance their way.

Lopez Reveals When The Cracks Started To Appear

After Ciryl Gane expressed his confusion over the backstage snub, Fernand Lopez has also now addressed the awkward encounter. During an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, the 42-year-old revealed he wasn’t surprised by his compatriot’s decision to avoid an interaction with him, especially given the words they’ve both said in interviews.

Lopez was also asked where things started to go wrong in his relationship with the heavyweight champ. Remarkably, the founder of France’s biggest MMA gym claimed Ngannou refused to pay for a gym membership when he began to earn substantial money in the UFC. That’s despite the coach allowing a poor and struggling Ngannou to train for free for four years at the start of his career. According to “The Predator,” the fact he was bringing attention to the gym meant he should have been exempt from paying a fee.

“During the time that we live together, I asked him to step out of the gym twice. Myself asked Francis,” Lopez said. “Okay, when Francis fought against Anthony Hamilton, that fight, I choose to not go. I said to him, ‘I’m not coaching you anymore, I need you to step out of the gym.’ Because Francis said to me, ‘There’s a guy who is calling to get money in the gym from fighters, membership.’ And Francis said to me, ‘I’m the one bringing the (spot)light in the gym. I shall not pay any membership.’ And I said, ‘This is crazy.’ I mean, you must be crazy. You spent four years on your life, for free in my gym. I never asked you for anything, any penny. And now that you’re not poor anymore, and I keep bringing poor guy in my gym, there’s around 40 guy homeless in my gym, poor people that I’m taking care of them. I call that ‘file zero.’ When a guy shows up in my gym, I send him to my secretary and I say, ‘Give him file zero.’ Means take him to the gym for free.

“And I said,’ Okay, you become a successful man, you have money, you pay me 10 percent. On top of the 10 percent, you ask me to pay the sparring partner with that money that you give me. On top of that, you’re saying that that will be shame to know that a big man like you is paying the membership.’ You know how much is the membership in a year in my gym? €600. €600 per year, one year,” added Fernand Lopez. “And he said, ‘No, I will not pay.’ So, I said, ‘You know what, you don’t listen to me anymore when I’m giving the class, you choose the easy way to train, please let’s just split.’ And he did.”

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With perhaps a more personal rivalry now, Gane and Ngannou will settle their scores in the main event of UFC 270. The event, which is set to take place on January 22, will be the opening pay-per-view of 2022.

Who do you think will leave UFC 270 with the undisputed heavyweight gold, MMA Factory’s Ciryl Gane or the gym’s former member Francis Ngannou?

Continue Reading Coach Fernand Lopez Claims Ngannou Refused To Pay Gym Membership at MMA News.