Francis Ngannou sets record straight on ONE Championship and BKFC’s ‘two-faced’ negotiation claims

Francis Ngannou says dealing with some promoters during free agency was quite a task.

By: Kristen King | 2 weeks ago
Francis Ngannou sets record straight on ONE Championship and BKFC’s ‘two-faced’ negotiation claims
Francis Ngannou during his post-fight press conference at UFC 270 | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Now that he has signed a multi-fight agreement with Professional Fighters League (PFL), Francis Ngannou has something to say to the ‘two-faced’ promoters he was dealing with in free agency. The ex-UFC heavyweight champion was one of the most sought after free agents after he failed to come to terms on a new agreement with the promotion this past January. 

Since the UFC waived its 90-day exclusive negotiation window for Ngannou, he was free to field offers from other prominent promotions. Bellator CEO Scott Coker and ONE Championship Chairman Chatri Sityodtong revealed they were discussing offers with the ‘Predator’ and his team. And so was Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) president David Feldman, who revealed he also reached out to Ngannou, but realized he was ‘asking for unrealistic money’ — money Feldman was ‘not willing to pay’ for the Cameroonian. 

Francis Ngannou refutes claim from BKFC president

The revelation that Feldman reached out to Francis Ngannou was news to the 36-year-old, as he said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Tuesday the he never even heard from the bare-knuckle boxing promotion. 

“I just think he assumed that I’m so expensive, obviously because he had to take a loan on his house to put on a show [BKFC 41],” said Ngannou. “I think he assumed that loan couldn’t pay me, because I never spoke to him. My team never spoke to him. And then when I saw his comments, I was like, ‘Where is this guy coming from?’ Then I checked my phone, I called my team, like, ‘Did somebody talk to this guy that I’m not aware of?’ And everyone checked their messages…and their like, ‘No, we haven’t talked with this guy.’ So I don’t know where he came from. That’s why I didn’t talk about it. This guy is just a joke.

“At some point, he was promoting his show, his event,” continued Ngannou. “He’s going to do anything to get a little bit of PR here and there, everything he can do. But I never talked to that guy, we never asked him anything, and he never even reached out. Not to say we were interested — we weren’t — but he never even reached out, so he didn’t know if we were interested. That’s why I say some promoters out there, two-faced. It’s crazy stuff.”

Francis Ngannou discusses sit down with ONE Championship

Francis Ngannou also discussed Sityodtong, who was reportedly set to ‘give him the biggest offer on the table out of all his bids’ following a sit down in Los Angeles. Shortly after, the ONE Championship Chairman claimed that they were the ones to withdraw from negotiations and decided not to make an offer due to not having ‘alignment’ on ‘non-financial matters’. 

Once again, this was news to Ngannou, who tweeted a photo DC Comics villain, Two-Face, with the caption, ‘Some promoters man,’ seemingly in response to Sityodtong. He went on to give his version of what happened during their sit down, which concluded without any sort of offer from Sityodtong.  

“So we met in L.A. and I was just upfront before anything started,” said Ngannou. “I was like, ‘Listen, this is the thing. I have told you this. I’m favoring PFL right now.’ And he was like, ‘Why did you get me here?’ I’m like, ‘To listen. First of all, I respect you. And even if I sign with PFL, someday comes that you say, I want to meet you, Francis. You didn’t say that you want to meet me on business. You were with my team, talking business, and then you said you want to meet me. So sounds like it’s not business anymore, right?’

“So then he starts to show me all this stuff, started showing me screenshots — I think he showed me 13 screenshots — all these statistics how ONE FC is the second-most viewed [promotion] in the sport,” continued Ngannou. “He has more views on YouTube than Premiere League, than NFL, than NBA. I’m like, ‘Damn. Woah.’ He has a lot of those. I’m like, hold on a minute. Anyway, that was the whole meeting. And at some point really, I was like, OK, it’s good, I respect this guy, and I took this meeting, I don’t want to be rude, but I was just coming out of an 11-hour flight and I had another flight to take to go back home. I thought it would be like one-hour or something, and I find myself over two hours.

“I have to drink three or four cups of coffee, listening to all those statistics, how ONE FC is in Asia, Asia is 4.6 billion people, they’re going to do this, they showed me how ONE FC is going to explode, I’m going to be like Nelson Mandela. Bro, it was a hell of a performance. By the way, I applaud Chatri for his performance.”

When is Francis Ngannou debuting in PFL?

Ahead of his first PFL fight in 2024, Francis Ngannou is hoping to lace up his gloves for a boxing bout. Against who remains to be seen, but the Xtreme Couture product has hinted at Anthony Joshua as an opponent.

Thank you for reading this article. Please consider subscribing to the Bloody Elbow Substack to enjoy our daily premium content. Your paid subscriptions are helping build our new site and keeping hope alive that our staff will remain intact. If you haven’t already, please pledge with a paid subscription today.

Bloody Elbow Archives

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Subscribe to our Substack!

Share this story

About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

More from the author

Recent Stories