Francis Ngannou slams claims he ‘fumbled the bag’ signing with PFL

Francis Ngannou spoke about his massive new PFL deal in a video released Tuesday. And about the prospects of boxing in the future.

By: Jack Wannan | 5 months ago
Francis Ngannou slams claims he ‘fumbled the bag’ signing with PFL
Francis Ngannou spoke about his PFL deal on his Youtube channel. | IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Just a few hours ago, the news on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou’s next MMA move broke, and it was big. Ngannou will be heading to the PFL, coming over with a contract that is both lucrative and offers mobility for him to try his hand at boxing without restrictions at some point in the future.

Bloody Elbow’s John S. Nash broke down the details this morning. Most notably, Ngannou is expected to receive a “high 7-figure” payout for each bout over the course of two to three fights for the promotion. He’s also allowed to pursue boxing opportunities outside of the promotion and has set up minimum pay for his opponents as well as a guaranteed yearly salary for himself. Ngannou released a video statement Tuesday that went further into these details, plus other finer points about his deal.

Francis Ngannou calls PFL deal the ‘best decision’

Ngannou’s video started with screenshots of the many fans and pundits who thought he had made a mistake when seeking free agency and departing the UFC last year. He sat down and faced the camera, beginning the video by assuring supporters of the value of the decision he made.

“This decision with PFL wasn’t done overnight, believe me. It was a thoughtful process to get here, to find the right fit, the right promotion with the value that matches with mine. Some of you might disagree that it’s a great decision and I get it. It’s ok. But for me, for my family, and for Africa, this is the best decision that I would ever take for my career, for my business and for everything.”

No bags fumbled here, says Ngannou

Ngannou has joked before about how free agency was a bad option for him. Last week, in jest he posted a couple of photos with the caption “Just out here fumbling the bag.” On Tuesday, he told fans that not only did he not “fumble the bag,” but he’s attempting to secure it for others too.

“Some of you might have a lot of questions, for example, ‘Did I fumble the bag?’ ‘Did I do a wrong business decision?’ But let me tell you what, this is the best business decision I have ever done. At the beginning of my free agency, I didn’t know that I could have a deal structured in this way. That I could have all this in one deal.

“I have myself a good guarantee, which is more important. So don’t you worry about me ‘fumbling the bag’. I have a good guarantee and, most importantly, I was even able to have a guarantee of $2 million for my opponent. Whomever I’m going to fight next is going to make money, too.”

Ngannou talks PFL Africa

Ngannou also plans to make moves with the PFL outside of competition. He said Tuesday that he is joining the promotion’s “advisory board” and hopes to help them launch a division in Africa, likely similar to what they started in Europe recently.

“I have a seat at the table of the fighter advisory board, [the] first active fighter to be [on] this board. I take this matter very seriously. It’s going to mainly be a board that will be advocating for fighters for the benefit of the sport and the fighters, not for the promotion, but for the fighters, because there are always two parties at the table and most of the time we forget the other party which are most important: fighters.

“Besides all that we have a massive plan to develop the sport in Africa. With this partnership we are launching PFL Africa, which is going to be a whole promotion based in Africa for Africans – to help develop fighters in Africa, to help develop infrastructure, to help bring coaches to Africa, to give those African fighters the same opportunities, the same resources as people here.

“They have talent. The problem now is the resources, infrastructure and that’s something that PFL really cares about and we are going to build that together.”

Boxing is not off the table

When discussion around Ngannou’s free agency came up, many entertained the idea of him going into boxing. Well, his PFL deal doesn’t take that option off the table, as he is able to pursue that sport alongside his latest MMA venture. He spoke about that in the video released Tuesday as well:

“I will be able to manage my own sponsorships, find my own sponsors and be able to bring in my own sponsors. So I have that opportunity open for me. This deal is exclusive to MMA. Not combat sports. Since PFL doesn’t do boxing, shouldn’t be included in boxing with me and that’s what we agreed on.

“I can do boxing separately, whenever I want, if ever I want. And they are even going to support me, step out of my way, and even support me to do my boxing, as that is one of my biggest dreams; to do boxing matches.”

Francis Ngannou confident in new deal

From the video, it’s clear that Ngannou is over the moon about the deal he just landed. He wrapped up the video by stating once again how much he likes the business move he made, and by proclaiming that he is still the baddest man on the planet.

“A deal like this? I couldn’t have it [elsewhere]. Not anywhere close. Nobody has something close [to] this. The good thing is that I’m joining them on a goal that they have. I didn’t need to come to explain what I want. Our needs just aligned together and then it was a perfect fit.

“It’s the best professional decision that I have ever made. It’s the best business decision that I have ever made and you can imagine by yourself, by just seeing those few deal structures that I’m going to explain more and more later and give you more details about it for those who don’t understand. So don’t you worry.”

“I appreciate your concerns. I appreciate your worries about me. But man, believe me, I’m doing great. With all due respect to all the other promotions, nobody could have gotten anywhere close to this, to this point. All the stuff that matters to me, nobody really cared about, everybody just wants to get a fight out of you and then shake hands, goodbye.

“Take money. Fight. Shake hands. Goodbye. Which is something that I don’t have here. And no matter what your promoter says, no matter what some fighters say, no matter what media say, who do you think is the baddest motherf-cker on the planet? Me.”

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.

Share this story

About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories