Francis Ngannou’s departure from the UFC rocked the MMA world, as we watched a heavyweight champ leave the prestigious organization in the middle of a title reign.
Even so, he was able to negotiate a deal he much preferred with the PFL. Now, the former heavyweight champions can fight in boxing and MMA events.
Dana White has been incredibly negative about the entire situation, which led to Ngannou calling him out on social media.
Now, it sounds like Francis Ngannou is finally receiving some support, as UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture weighs in.
The deal Ngannou signed with the PFL not only gave him the power to fight in the Octagon and the boxing ring, but he also received some extra perks.
He’s officially a part owner of the PFL while also being named a chairman for PFL Africa.
According to MMA Fighting, these are the reasons why Randy Couture likes Ngannou’s deal so much. Here’s what the UFC Hall of Famer had to say about the contract.
“It wasn’t about the money. The money the UFC was throwing at him was pretty good on the grand scale of what’s going on in our sport.”
“It was about these other things and the PFL was happy to step up and make it more worth Francis’ while, to give him a voice, to make him part of the athlete’s advisory board, to make him the chairman of the PFL on the continent where he grew up. I think those were all huge factors for our sport.”
Francis Ngannou’s deal with the PFL is the first of it’s kind for MMA fighters. Randy Couture believes that it could open the door for more fighters down the road.
In fact, Couture thinks the fighters in the UFC’s heavyweight division are primed to potentially follow Ngannou’s footsteps. Or, at the very least, they should opt to consider weighing their options during free agency.
“I think it’s definitely going to get the attention of a lot of guys in the division. Certainly, if they’re looking at free agency in the very near future [they have to consider it].”
He goes on to say, “I think you’re crazy if you don’t [consider it]. I think [the guaranteed money] definitely speaks volumes, and at the end of the day, it’s about taking care of the fighters.”
You’d think a UFC Hall of Famer would be on Dana White’s side. However, Couture famously struggled with trying to fight outside of the organization during his championship reign.
He tried to secure a fight against Fedor Emelianenko, who is highly regarded as one of the best heavyweight fighters in MMA history.
That fight never came to fruition because Dana White and the UFC continuously shut it down. The main reason being, that promoting a fight like that would help another competitive MMA league.
At the end of the day, Francis Ngannou’s departure from the UFC is iconic. His deal with the PFL may have created new opportunities for UFC fighters that weren’t available before.
Keep an eye on any stars in the UFC whose contracts are nearing an end. Thanks to Ngannou, the organization may finally have some competition when these fighters become free agents.