After months of negotiations, it looks like Francis Ngannou has secured the bag.
Ngannou signed a lucrative and fighter-friendly MMA contract with the PFL last May, and he still had his sights on an even better boxing deal. Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn hinted at that second part being in the works earlier, and now an official announcement is reportedly imminent.
Francis Ngannou will reportedly fight Tyson Fury next
Fury also hinted earlier this week at a location, with big money coming from the Middle East.
“We’ve had a lot of offers from the Middle East at the moment to host that fight over the summer,” Fury said on the Out of Interest Podcast. “(The purse is) private information, but let’s say it’s 10, 20, 30, f—king 50 times the amount (UFC fighters make).”
Ngannou and Fury initially teased this match up back in April 2022 when they faced off in the ring. It took a while to actually get it done, with UFC even supposedly making an offer to try and get Fury away from this recently.
The now former UFC heavyweight champion had a long road to fight for his free agency, and became the first to not only leave with the belt, but to escape the promotion’s highly restrictive “champion’s clause”. Ngannou wanted respect and control over his career, and it looks like the massive risks he took to bet on himself has paid off with deals with PFL and now Fury.
Exhibition? Hybrid ruleset?
No details were announced on the specifics of the Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury bout just yet. Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who it’s worth noting does not promote Fury, says he “heard” it’ll be an exhibition, not a pro fight like Mayweather vs McGregor was before.
“Yes, I believe (Fury vs Ngannou happens next), this is what I’ve heard. It’ll be an exhibition,” Hearn said. “Apparently, no knockdowns or anything. I don’t know. I’m only telling you what I’ve heard. Who knows what’s what, but that is apparently what is going to be the next fight. Disappointing, but it is what it is.”
In a video obtained by Bloody Elbow, Fury also revealed that he wanted hybrid rules against Ngannou.
“I’ve offered to fight Ngannou in a cage under boxing rules with four ounce gloves on,” Fury said during an appearance in Bantao Muay Thai & MMA last June.
Hearn likely won’t be alone in his “disappointment” in this match up, with boxing fans and purists likely to follow suit as well. It’s not really about Ngannou, but more on the fact that Fury seems to have yet again missed (dodged?) and opportunity to fight Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title.
As a mainstream spectacle though, Ngannou vs Fury is likely to be pretty big, with both fighters earning a lot of money for it.
Personally, I’m not really excited about seeing Ngannou have to severely handicap himself in a different sport to secure a big payday, but that’s just the nature of MMA purses today. Instead of staying underpaid in the UFC which is estimated to be taking 87% of the pie, it is great that he was able to go against the grain, do things on his own terms, and still likely get paid extremely well.
Ngannou risked it all to complete his deal, defending his belt against Ciryl Gane while injured, and then taking on the UFC and its efforts to try and discredit him as he fought for his free agency. The lineal UFC heavyweight champion bet on himself, and it has seemingly paid off in a big way. Regardless of what you think of this exhibition or his chances against Fury, Francis Ngannou has seemingly won already.
About the author