Francis Ngannou, a former heavyweight champion of the UFC, claims that he left the organization because he wanted “freedom,” not money.
Dana White, the president of the UFC, made the announcement that Ngannou and the company had split on Saturday.
Ngannou stated on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour program that he turned down a UFC contract in order to maintain his “freedom.”
The 36-year-old Ngannou, who was born in Cameroon, declared that it made no difference how much money was included in the contract.
“I am powerless. I don’t want that to happen because then I pass all the power over to you guys [the UFC].
“I’ve always pictured myself in the UFC, so I really hoped it could work out. But it’s a philosophical issue. Although money plays a role, it’s not the only factor.”
Ngannou claims that during contract negotiations, the UFC rejected his requests to provide health insurance for all of its fighters and to permit its athletes to have their own sponsorship deals. Ngannou had held the heavyweight title for almost two years before it was stripped from him as a result of his departure.
Ngannou added, “I begged them [the UFC] to take these things into consideration, but they refused.
“While some of the fighters struggle, I can afford my health insurance.
“Freedom and dignity are both crucial. I need autonomy and to be in charge of my own destiny rather than having others do so.”
“My instinct tells me boxing is next”
Since joining the UFC in 2015, Ngannou has won 12 of his 14 contests, including a victory over Stipe Miocic in 2021 for the heavyweight championship.
He has 11 victories under his belt, solidifying his place among the MMA’s most dreadful punchers.
White said that Ngannou had left the promotion to face “lesser opponents” after rejecting a deal that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in UFC history. White is still serving as president of the organization despite criticism following a recent dispute with his wife.
Ngannou disagrees, stating that he might convert to boxing, which offers enormous challenges, with Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua as his dream opponents.
He said, “I don’t know where Dana got this from.
“In a perfect world, I would engage in a boxing match and then return to mixed martial arts. I would jump at the chance to compete against all those difficult boxers, like as Fury and Joshua “said he.
“July will be the latest [I will fight]. Pro boxing, in my opinion, will come next. I’m currently working on it.”