Francis Ngannou’s representative, Marquel Martin, has voiced his concerns regarding the UFC’s actions, suggesting that the promotion deliberately tried to hinder their chances of securing the highly anticipated boxing match between Ngannou and Tyson Fury. The former UFC heavyweight champion had long desired an opportunity to face Fury in the boxing ring, which played a significant role in his departure from the organization earlier this year. Despite this, the UFC’s president, Dana White, suddenly expressed interest in arranging a bout between Fury and the new UFC heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, shortly after Ngannou signed with the PFL.
Martin points out the contradiction in White’s statements, as he initially criticized Ngannou’s pursuit of a high-profile boxing match, dismissing it as a “gimmick fight.” However, the sudden interest in Fury vs. Jones indicated that the UFC was willing to promote such an event, which left Ngannou and his team skeptical of the UFC’s motives. Martin believes that the promotion sought to disrupt their chances and expresses the belief that there has been a negative bias towards Ngannou within the organization. The reasons behind this bias remain unclear, and Martin suggests directing inquiries to the UFC for clarification.
Martin highlights the UFC’s history of promoting fights that could be categorized as “gimmicks,” citing examples such as signing James Toney and CM Punk, as well as co-promoting the lucrative boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. He finds it ironic that Ngannou had spent two years attempting to arrange the Fury fight while under the UFC’s banner. Martin reveals that discussions with UFC officials to plan a path towards two blockbuster events—one against Jones for Ngannou’s UFC heavyweight title and another against Fury for the title of the “Baddest Man on the Planet”—were met with resistance. He speculates that the immense financial success of McGregor’s boxing match influenced the promotion’s decision-making process.
Martin acknowledges that pinpointing the exact reasons behind the UFC’s actions is challenging. He believes that if the UFC had embraced the proposed path, Ngannou would still be with the organization, and they could potentially be promoting the Fury fight. Martin emphasizes Ngannou’s status as the king of the MMA division and suggests that defeating Jones and then Fury would solidify his legacy as the baddest man on the planet. However, he believes the UFC failed to recognize this potential. Despite the situation, Martin expresses the team’s determination to prove themselves in due time.
Martin finds White’s assertion of avoiding “gimmick fights” even more amusing in light of the president’s subsequent interest in arranging a battle between billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. He suggests that if such a fight were to materialize, it would be fitting for them to join Ngannou’s new promotional arm, GIMIK Fight Promotions, or consider it as a co-main event if the UFC couldn’t secure the matchup. In Martin’s view, this example underscores the irony of the situation and questions what truly constitutes a “gimmick fight.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC promotion
Q: What were the UFC’s attempts to steal away the Tyson Fury superfight from Francis Ngannou?
A: The UFC president, Dana White, expressed sudden interest in booking a fight between Tyson Fury and Jon Jones after Ngannou signed with the PFL. This contradicted White’s earlier criticism of Ngannou’s pursuit of a high-profile boxing match.
Q: Why does Ngannou’s representative believe the UFC wanted to mess up their chances?
A: Ngannou’s representative suspects that the UFC had a sour taste towards Ngannou for unknown reasons and deliberately tried to hinder their opportunities, including the highly anticipated boxing match against Tyson Fury.
Q: Did the UFC promote gimmick fights in the past?
A: Yes, the UFC has a history of promoting fights that could be considered gimmicks, such as signing James Toney and CM Punk, as well as co-promoting the highly lucrative boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Q: Did Ngannou try to arrange the Fury fight under the UFC umbrella?
A: Yes, Ngannou spent two years attempting to make the Fury fight happen while he was still under contract with the UFC. However, discussions with UFC officials to plan a path towards the Fury fight were met with resistance.
Q: What role did Conor McGregor’s boxing match play in the UFC’s decision-making?
A: Ngannou’s representative speculates that the immense financial success of McGregor’s boxing match against Mayweather influenced the UFC’s thinking and may have played a part in their reluctance to pursue the Fury fight.