Francis Ngannou Shares Root Cause Of Issues With The UFC

UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou says his failure to accept a low-ball contract is at the heart of his issues with the UFC. Ngannou will defend his heavyweight title for the first time against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on January 22. The 35-year-old captured the strap against Stipe Miocic in March, announcing his reign […]

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UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou says his failure to accept a low-ball contract is at the heart of his issues with the UFC.

Ngannou will defend his heavyweight title for the first time against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on January 22. The 35-year-old captured the strap against Stipe Miocic in March, announcing his reign as the new Baddest Man on the Planet with a spectacular KO.

His time as champion, however, has been marred by the UFC’s behind-the-scenes machinations and, in Ngannou’s view, betrayals. Not only was an interim title fight arranged less than five months into his reign, Francis believes his employer did its utmost to “discredit him” in the lead up to that fight.

Ngannou’s gripes with the UFC stretch back years. From Dana White saying that his “ego is so out of control,” to being perennially overlooked for a title shot prior to becoming champ, it’s hard to deny that Francis has been underappreciated by the UFC. This, despite re-energizing the heavyweight division by spectacularly knocking out almost every man placed before him.

Francis Ngannou
PHOTO: MMA JUNKIE

Ngannou Says He’s Had To “Borrow Money To Live” Under Current UFC Contract

Now, “Le Predator” is the latest of a long line of UFC fighters to publicly criticize the promotion for its less than generous remuneration practices.

Unsatisfied with his contract, Ngannou has for some time refused to sign an extension. He currently has one fight left on his deal, but as champion, will remain under contract as long as the UFC continues to offer him fights, precluding his ability to test the market as a free agent.

Speaking to The MMA Hour this week, Francis said that his failure to extend his contract is the root cause of his issues with the UFC. 

“I did not sign a new deal,” said Ngannou (h/t MMA FIGHTING). “First of all, there is a champ clause and they’ve been trying to apply pressure with an extension, but I did not sign a new deal and I think that’s basically the issue. That’s what is causing all these issues because I don’t want to sign a new deal on certain terms.”

Francis is standing firm at the negotiating table, holding out for a better deal. And it’s understandable, given that under his current contract, he’s been forced into debt.

“That doesn’t work for me, because I don’t feel protected in those terms — in the past two years I fought twice and I have to borrow money to live,” continued Ngannou. “Nobody cares about that. I have no guarantee and I have no protection, so based on that experience I want to get something better, better terms on my contract, and obviously paid what I deserve.”

Ngannou, however, still has love for the UFC, and hopes he can work out a deal to continue fighting under its banner.

“The UFC is a beautiful and nice promotion,” said Ngannou. “I love being in the UFC. The only part that is challenging now is behind-the-scenes part. But fighting, I love it. That’s for sure, I love the promotion, that’s not questionable. I still hope that this works out. I still hope, I wish that it would work out. In the meantime, if it doesn’t work out, I can’t do anything.”

What do you think? Is Francis Ngannou being treated unfairly by the UFC?

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Blaydes: MMA Fans Can Often Be Overly Emotional In Their Arguments

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes MMA fans are often “overly reactionary” and emotional when discussing the sport’s biggest topics. Blaydes’ comments came after UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Petr Yan at UFC 267. “Funk Master” has been out of action ever since his title […]

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UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes MMA fans are often “overly reactionary” and emotional when discussing the sport’s biggest topics.

Blaydes’ comments came after UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Petr Yan at UFC 267. “Funk Master” has been out of action ever since his title crowning at UFC 259 in March. Having undergone neck surgery, Sterling was set to run it back with “No Mercy” in Abu Dhabi.

After not receiving medical clearance as a result of lingering issues following his operation, the champ withdrew. In his place, #3-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen stepped up and will face Yan for the interim gold on October 30.

Despite the likes of Sandhagen supporting the creation of the belt and recognizing the serious nature of Sterling’s surgery, many, especially those within the UFC fanbase, have suggested the 32-year-old should have been stripped of his title.

In an interview with MMA News’ own James Lynch, Curtis Blaydes gave his take on the situation. According to “Razor,” fans are often too quick to judge situations in the heat of the moment. Citing calls for Sterling to be stripped as an example, the 30-year-old suggested many let their emotions take over when giving their opinions.

“MMA fans sometimes are a little overly reactionary and they let their emotions do the speaking. And I’m sure sometimes they regret what they say in the heat of the moment. Because I don’t agree with them. I don’t think he should be stripped of his title. I mean, if the man’s injured, why would he lie? Why would you not want to defend your title and prove to everyone you deserve it?”

Providing some context to Sterling’s withdrawal, Blaydes asserted that a fighter’s health is the most important thing. Given what he’s heard about the 135-pound champ’s situation, he believes Sterling was right to pull out of his rematch with Yan.

“I read in an article he said at this point, he can only do like a few rounds in a row before he starts to lose feeling and the fatigue starts to get to him. You want to be your best. It’s hard to go out there—and you know, like, ‘Hey, if I don’t get this guy out of this cage within the first two rounds, I don’t know what’s gonna happen.’ That’s really scary. So I can’t blame him for just wanting to be healthy. I hope he does get back healthy. I hope he does get the opportunity to walk around and at least get a chance. Like, he might lose, he might win, but I don’t want him to get stripped. I think that’s unnecessary.” 

Catch our full exclusive interview with UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes below:

Do you agree with Curtis Blaydes? Or do you think Aljamain Sterling should have been stripped of the bantamweight belt?

Continue Reading Blaydes: MMA Fans Can Often Be Overly Emotional In Their Arguments at MMA News.

Coker After Bellator 268: “I Didn’t Even Know UFC Had A Card Tonight”

Scott Coker likes to stay in his own lane, and not focus on his competition. This weekend saw the UFC go head to head with Bellator, with Aspen Ladd vs Norma Dumont headlining the former’s card at the Apex Center, and Phoenix, Arizona playing host to Vadim Nemkov vs Julius Anglickas. However Coker apparently had […]

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Scott Coker likes to stay in his own lane, and not focus on his competition.

This weekend saw the UFC go head to head with Bellator, with Aspen Ladd vs Norma Dumont headlining the former’s card at the Apex Center, and Phoenix, Arizona playing host to Vadim Nemkov vs Julius Anglickas. However Coker apparently had no idea that he was stepping on Dana White’s toes.

While speaking to media after Bellator 268, Coker was asked about the fact that Bellator and the UFC had fights going at the same time. Here he explained that he had no idea UFC Vegas 40 was happening that night, because he was focused on running his own promotion.

“You know, honestly I didn’t even know they had a card tonight. That’s the truth. I focus on my business, I focus on what we’re doing. I think we’re doing some great things… I think we’re back doing what we do best, we’re back on the road, and putting on great fights, and I think that’s what we did tonight,” Coker said.

Scott Coker seems to be proving at every step of the way that he is focused on what his crew is doing, instead of what his competitors are up to. That is why it seems to be a reasonable suggestion that he had no idea that the UFC had a card on the same day as his, especially considering the quality of the Fight Night in question and it’s much earlier start time.

The initial reaction to Coker saying that would be to doubt him, as the UFC can be hard to miss when they are making a show of things, promotionally. That said, whether he knew that he was putting on a show as the same time as his rival promotion or not, the time difference alone would mean that they do not have an effect on each other.

Check out the full post-fight interview below:

Continue Reading Coker After Bellator 268: “I Didn’t Even Know UFC Had A Card Tonight” at MMA News.

Vettori Says He Realized He’s Better Than Adesanya After Their Rematch

After losing twice to Israel Adesanya, Marvin Vettorri is doing all he can to convince himself that he’s still the better fighter. Vettori had his five-fight win-streak and title hopes dashed by Adesanya when the duo met for the second time at UFC 263 in June. In the years between that outing and their first […]

Continue Reading Vettori Says He Realized He’s Better Than Adesanya After Their Rematch at MMA News.

After losing twice to Israel Adesanya, Marvin Vettorri is doing all he can to convince himself that he’s still the better fighter.

Vettori had his five-fight win-streak and title hopes dashed by Adesanya when the duo met for the second time at UFC 263 in June. In the years between that outing and their first in 2018, which Adesanya won by split decision, Vettori had promised doubters that he would best the Nigerian in a rematch. “The Italian Dream” was instead this time defeated by unanimous decision.

Following both defeats to Adesanya, Vettori anointed himself the winner. And after the first, he offered all manner of rationalizations to justify the claim. Chief amongst them, that the judges had erred by scoring Adesanya’s feints, jabs and leg kicks more favorably than Marvin’s ring control and aggression.

Israel Adesanya Marvin Vettori
(via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Vettori Claims He’s Superior To Adesanya, Offers Reasons Why He Lost

Now four months removed from his second loss to Adesanya, Vettori is manufacturing a fresh set of theories as to how on earth he could have possibly been bested once more. Speaking to MMA JUNKIE, the 28-year-old provided his post-mortem of the fight, the unfavorable result of which he puts down to Israel’s smarts and a nebulous ability to “corner himself.”

“He was very smart in there and he fought a very smart fight,” Vettori said (h/t MMA JUNKIE). “With that being said, he wasn’t better. He wasn’t better at all in general. He wasn’t more skilled. He didn’t have more cardio. He didn’t have more anything, really. He was smart. He knew he was a champion. He didn’t really want to engage with me in a lot of things. Exchanges in general.

“One thing he was good at, he was able to play the crowd and kind of like almost be his own cornering in a sense. He had his own cornering, obviously, but he also had his like, he was his own corner. He was able to see the situation a little bit more from outside, from a third eye, almost.”

Israel Adesanya Marvin Vettori
(via Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Vettori admitted that he made a mistake by falling victim to the wily tactics of Adesanya. But much like after the first loss, “The Italian Dream” fiercely maintains that in a subsequent bout, he’ll finally get the better of the middleweight champ, who he believes is the inferior fighter.

“I did a mistake and I paid for it,” Vettori said.

“But, you know, I really realized I can really beat this guy and I’m actually better than this guy. Two days after it’s like, ‘If we redo this fight, I’m going to beat this guy. Clean.’”

“But that’s it. Now I have to just reclaim my spot, and I feel like this is a fight (against Costa) that regardless of being champion or not, I would have won. I would have won this fight.”

Vettori will face Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC Vegas 41 on October 23—a bout that Adesanya has picked in favor of the Brazilian, much to the chagrin of Marvin

What do you think? Is Marvin Vettori a better fighter than Adesanya, or is he in denial? 

Continue Reading Vettori Says He Realized He’s Better Than Adesanya After Their Rematch at MMA News.

[ARCHIVES] Bruce Buffer Says Khabib Has Become The ‘Ultimate Villain’

[MMA NEWS ARCHIVES] Here is a story published on this day three years soon after the blockbuster UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor pay-per-view. The following article is presented to you in its original, unaltered form. On This Day Three Years Ago… [ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 17, 2018, 10:48 AM] Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announcer Bruce Buffer […]

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[MMA NEWS ARCHIVES]

Here is a story published on this day three years soon after the blockbuster UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor pay-per-view. The following article is presented to you in its original, unaltered form.

On This Day Three Years Ago…

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 17, 2018, 10:48 AM]

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announcer Bruce Buffer believes Khabib Nurmagomedov has set himself up to be a villain.

Buffer has been the UFC’s main announcer since July 1996. He has seen plenty of chaotic moments inside the Octagon, but perhaps none can top what transpired at the conclusion of UFC 229. A brawl ensued following Nurmagomedov’s submission victory over Conor McGregor. It all started when “The Eagle” jumped into the crowd and went after Dillon Danis.

Bruce Buffer Likens Khabib Nurmagomedov To A Villain

Buffer recognizes that Nurmagomedov and McGregor had a legitimate beef, but he feels there was no excuse for Team Khabib’s actions. He went as far as to call Nurmagomedov a villain during a recent appearance on the Anik & Florian Podcast (via MMA Weekly):

“It’s one of those enigmas and we have to get through it and move on. No call for it; no reason for it. The amazing cool cat, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has now become the ultimate villain. It’s amazing how things change overnight.”

Nurmagomedov awaits a decision from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. McGregor will also face disciplinary action, but many believe his punishment will end up being lighter than “The Eagle’s.” If Nurmagomedov is dealt with a light suspension, then he’ll likely keep his UFC lightweight title. A lengthy suspension, however, could be a different story.

The UFC lightweight champion feels his actions are justified. He says McGregor got away with the UFC 223 bus incident as well as talking about his religion and family.

Do you agree with Bruce Buffer, or is it a stretch to call Khabib Nurmagomedov a villain?

Continue Reading [ARCHIVES] Bruce Buffer Says Khabib Has Become The ‘Ultimate Villain’ at MMA News.

Charles Oliveira Responds To Justin Gaethje Branding Him A “Quitter”

UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira has slammed Justin Gaethje after “The Highlight” branded him a “quitter.” After over a decade in the promotion, Oliveira finally had UFC gold wrapped around his waist at UFC 262 in May. “Do Bronx” secured his spot in the vacant 155-pound title fight after racking up an eight-fight win streak […]

Continue Reading Charles Oliveira Responds To Justin Gaethje Branding Him A “Quitter” at MMA News.

UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira has slammed Justin Gaethje after “The Highlight” branded him a “quitter.”

After over a decade in the promotion, Oliveira finally had UFC gold wrapped around his waist at UFC 262 in May. “Do Bronx” secured his spot in the vacant 155-pound title fight after racking up an eight-fight win streak that included victories over Clay Guida, Nik Lentz, Kevin Lee, and Tony Ferguson.

In the Houston-held pay-per-view’s main event, the Brazilian faced former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. After overcoming adversity in the opening frame, Oliveira recovered to record a TKO victory in the second. In doing so, he reached the lightweight mountaintop after 28 fights in the UFC.

Despite a hard-fought victory and a heart-warming championship crowning, not everybody was impressed. Speaking months after UFC 262, former interim champ Gaethje suggested Chandler showed that Oliveira is still a “quitter.”

During a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, the lightweight king fired back. Oliveira slammed Gaethje for his performance against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and suggested the #2-ranked contender is simply trying to keep himself relevant because he’s been on the sidelines for so long.

“He [Chandler] landed a good hand, had the opportunity to knock me out and win the fight but couldn’t. I went there and knocked him out. Justin Gaethje had the opportunity to fight for the belt against Khabib and you all saw what happened, I don’t need to say what happened. The ugliest fight I’ve ever seen in my life, he died, so I don’t have anything to say. You know when a guy needs to talk to be on the spotlight? To me, that’s what’s going on here. He needs to talk to be on the spotlight.

“On Dec. 11, Charles Oliveira will be fighting Dustin Poirier and if God wants me to win and continue with this belt, these guys have to win, they have to fight. If they fight and win, they can come. Tell them to come try and see if I’ll quit. They don’t understand it’s a new Charles, mentally, physically and spiritually. They may hit hard, but can they take it when I hit them back? I’m the same Charles that doesn’t talk, I lay low, but these guys just want attention. And how do they seek for it? Justin Gaethje hasn’t fought in what, a year? Everybody saw his last fight. It’s been a while. What happens is that if you don’t fight you have to talk, so he has to talk to get attention.”

Oliveira further disputed the claim that his title victory showed his tendency to quit. He encouraged Gaethje to earn a shot at the 155-pound gold and prove that the Brazilian is a quitter himself.

“Michael Chandler landed a good one and hit me hard for basically three minutes, he did everything he could and I didn’t quit. Why? I’m in a great place mentally, physically and spiritually,” Oliveira said. “When I hit him, he folded. What they are saying doesn’t make much sense.

“Those who think I’m a quitter, tell them to earn it, win their fights and come get it. We’ll see who quits and loses. But come ready, both on the feet and on the ground. That’s what I have to say. There’s no point talking, brother. If talking won fights I’d put a parrot in there to win fights because no one talks more than them. I have a red macaw in my farm and it talks all day long, so it would win everything.”

Oliveira will have the chance to prove “The Highlight” wrong when he makes his first title defense later this year. In the UFC 269 main event, he’ll face the challenge of Dustin Poirier.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 269, Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier?

Continue Reading Charles Oliveira Responds To Justin Gaethje Branding Him A “Quitter” at MMA News.