Francis Ngannou won his big UFC 270 fight against Ciryl Gane on Saturday night but another battle is about to heat up: the one between him and the UFC over his contractual status. The defense against Gane marked the final fight on Ngannou’s contract. But because Ngannou won, a champion’s clause kicks in, keeping “The Predator” around for three more fights or one year.
According to Ngannou, his contract expires in December of 2022 regardless. And given he fought on a blown out knee that will take the majority of the year to heal up, there’s a good chance he couldn’t step back into the Octagon before then if he wanted to.
What happens next is unclear. It seems like Ngannou will wait and then walk away, but the UFC has always seemed to figure out some legal trick or another to keep its top fighters from leaving and making bank outside the organization. And make no mistake: that’s exactly what would happen here.
There’s already a superfight brewing between Ngannou and heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury. Sure, Ngannou would probably get clowned in a boxing ring, but that wouldn’t stop the fight from making a lot of money. A lot of money that goes to the fighters.
Following the fight, Tyson Fury once again extended an invitation to fight, saying “if you want to make some real money come see the GK” aka “The Gypsy King.”
Ngannou was right there ready with a mock up poster:
The heavyweight boxing scene is awash in money right now. Tyson Fury just made over $25 million dollars for his last two fights against Deontay Wilder. A heavyweight unification fight between Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will make even more. Consider this: boxing promoters are preparing to pay Anthony Joshua $20 million dollars just to waive an immediate rematch clause with Usyk to let the Fury fight happen.
So yeah … compare that to Francis Ngannou making $600,000 on the front end of his UFC deal and a couple bucks off each pay-per-view sold. Experts estimate that he’s unlikely to break $5 million for his defense against Ciryl Gane. Between the pay and the well publicized difficulties he’s had with UFC management, it’s no surprise he’s looking to go to boxing.