Free tickets and PI passes: Francis Ngannou reveals Dana White’s idea of ‘promotion’

New PFL heavyweight Francis Ngannou is lifting the lid on his discussions with Dana White prior to his record breaking free agency.

By: Tim Bissell | 2 weeks ago
Free tickets and PI passes: Francis Ngannou reveals Dana White’s idea of ‘promotion’
Francis Ngannou and Dana White. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Francis Ngannou revealed he had joined the PFL yesterday. And so the parting shots at various other promoters (including the UFC’s Dana White) can begin.

Francis Ngannou and Dana White spoke before UFC 270

Francis Ngannou’s last appearance in the UFC Octagon (likely ever) took place on January 22, 2022 at UFC 270. That’s where he defeated Ciryl Gane, who Dana White slapped an interim heavyweight title on as a negotiating tactic, to unify the UFC heavyweight title.

Ngannou would secure a release from his UFC contract shortly after, vacating his title. A title that has since been claimed by Jon Jones (with a win over Gane earlier this year).

As a free agent, Ngannou heard offers from multiple organizations before settling on a blockbuster deal with the PFL.

On the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this week Ngannou revealed what he and White spoke about before the night he fought Gane. And it sounds like it didn’t go too well.

“Before my last fight, when I fought Ciryl Gane, I met with Dana in a restaurant,” said Ngannou. “I went to him, we spoke, I said, ‘I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me. I appreciate all the help, but at this point I feel like I don’t belong anymore. I feel like I’m not in the promotion. I’m in a fight in the promotion and I don’t know exactly how I got into a fight with the promotion.’ And he was like, ‘Yes, we want you here. I think you have to change your team,’ or something.

“I was like, ‘I feel like I’ve been in a promotion lately without a promoter. I don’t have a promoter anymore.’ I said this to him, ‘I don’t feel like I belong.’ [White said,] ‘What do you mean? Have you ever wanted to come to an event and you don’t get tickets? Or have you ever wanted to go to the P.I. and couldn’t access?’ For a moment I thought about it and I was like, this guy is so good. Look at how he switched the situation. So I’m working my whole life to have access to events and the P.I.?”

Ngannou discusses relationship with White today

With Helwani, Ngannou agreed that he is unlikely to welcomed back to the UFC with open arms in the future. And he seemed totally fine with that.

When asked why he thinks there might be animosity on the UFC side, Ngannou suggested the interviewer ask someone else.

“I think the person to answer that question best is Dana White. Listen, we have a long relationship. I respect that. I respect what the UFC has done for me. I appreciate them. I moved forward with my life. I had a contract, I fulfilled the contract, we couldn’t agree on another one. Then I went on my [own]. We should be able to go [our own ways] without bad blood.

“I don’t have anything personal. I’m just doing business. I’m obligated to do what is good for me, and I’m sorry if what is good for me is bad for somebody. As long as I don’t personally hurt you, I’m just doing what is good for me. The rest, I don’t care. Why should I be upset? Everything has worked out very well for me, so I’m good.”

Ngannou’s PFL contract is one-of-a-kind

In addition to having an eye-watering amount of guaranteed money, Ngannou’s new PFL contract includes a number of other interesting perks.

According to ‘The Predator’, he has been able to secure a guaranteed purse of $2 million for his future PFL opponents. He also said his deal lands him on the PFL’s fighter advisory board (making him the only active fighter there). Ngannou also said PFL would be partnering with him to launch PFL Africa and increasing MMA infrastructure on his home continent.

Ngannou stated that his deal with the PFL is exclusive to MMA, not all combat sports. He said should he secure a boxing match the PFL could not stand in his way. He went as far as to state the the PFL would actually support his efforts to secure and compete in big money boxing events.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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