If It’s true that he who laughs last laughs best, then Francis Ngannou must be shaking as uncontrollably as the average PRIME consumer right now.

Yes, the reports have confirmed that he did not, in fact, fumble the bag. He’s getting exactly what he wanted from the start: a heavyweight showdown with WBC and lineal champion Tyson Fury. The fight will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 28 and, while the number of rounds haven’t been confirmed yet, reports state that it will (mostly?) be pro rules, and Tyson Fury’s WBC Championship will not be on the line.

Opinions are starting to come out, some saying that the fight is a sham, a shameless cash grab being perpetrated by men with agendas only willing to make this happen as a means to defraud fans and scorn bigger rivals, or because other opportunities fell through.

And yeah, most of that is true. Doesn’t mean the fight won’t be a lot of fun, though.

Being a victim of circumstance isn’t always a bad thing

It’s crazy to think this is even happening. Talk of this fight started over a year ago, back when Francis Ngannou was still UFC Heavyweight Champion and Tyson Fury was on a collision course with Oleksandyr Usyk.

It is absolutely unfortunate that the unification fight with Usyk fell through but I’ll accept this as a consolation prize. If fights with Anthony Joshua or Andy Ruiz weren’t going to happen, then why not have a fun little detour, one that harkens back to the old-school “which style is best?” kind of fighting that many of us grew up on?

That’s right, Just Bleed Guy. We’re taking things back. 

The fact that both men agreed to a contest under professional rules, with judges and scoring, is proof that the intention isn’t just to pull a fast one on the paying public.

No need to hate the player or the game

I think it’s been explained well enough on the site why an exhibition would have been the worst outcome here, worse than the fight not happening. Nobody wants to see the two men considered to be the best/hardest punchers in their respective sports pawing at each other or engaging in other shenanigans. We’ve seen enough Floyd Mayweather bank robberies in recent years to know what a bad idea that would be.

Then again, Mayweather is a big part of the reason why a fight like this is possible, thanks to his efforts in making the fight with Conor McGregor happen (or Dana White getting Floyd onboard with the fight, whichever reality you choose to believe). Sure, you can say it was a farce but damn if it wasn’t an exciting one.

The only thing I don’t like is the fight being non-title. I mean, yeah, it’d be a joke to give a title shot to Francis when he’s never even had a pro bout, but I hate seeing champions compete without defending their belts.

That’s right. I’m saying Braun Strowman deserved a shot.

Plus, how crazy would it be if Francis found that one punch that puts Tyson away and he becomes the new king of boxing? That’d be some Rocky-level shit right there.

Oh, and, to any boxing “purists” out there who think this is damaging to the sport? Have you seen your sport lately? Yeah, you’ve gotten some good fights but you’re also getting plenty of nonsense too. Plus, it seems like there are more Tiktokkers and Instagrammers (Instagrammarians?) competing in the sport now than actual boxers.

The circus hasn’t come to town. It’s always been here. It never left. At least the event is only likely to be used to promote the sportswashing efforts of tyrants international, and not domestic.

Even DFW couldn’t stop Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury

It’s unfortunate that Dana’s plans to derail the fight didn’t pan out but it’s but it’s not like anybody actually thought Tyson was going to sign a UFC contract to fight Jon Jones, right? Was Dana going to offer him the Roman Coliseum too?

It’s unbelievable to think that Dana would have even been willing to deal with a personality like “The Gypsy King” considering the problems he still has with “The Notorious.”

I know, Dana. How dare us for calling out what you literally said and for expecting you’ll be able to get a fight booked that you’re currently airing an entire TV show to promote. Boo us.

At least you always deliver on the fights we want. Like Jones vs…..Stipe? Yay?

And the fact that PFL is not only okay with this but is celebrating the achievement on social media is astounding. They freely gave up any right to earn a cut of what could be the biggest pay-per-view of the year so that their new star attraction could live out his dream and make more money than he’s ever seen in his entire life.

I hope Francis is at least going to be repping PFL on his trunks. Or get them a discount on a canvas patch or something.

The end of Francis Ngannou’s UFC career showed what a cutthroat industry the sport of MMA, and specifically the UFC, can be. Boxing isn’t necessarily any better, but at least it’s still possible for the stars to align.

While the fight with Tyson Fury may not ultimately go the way Francis Ngannou wants it to, at least he can rest easy knowing that he really did get it done. He said he could do it, and he did. He proved all the doubters wrong. Some stories do have happy endings.

Make us proud, Francis. Just try not to make a total and complete mockery of our sport or anything, okay? Thanks.

About the author
Evan Zivin
Evan Zivin

Evan Zivin is a writer, having joined Bloody Elbow in 2023. He's been providing his unique takes on the sport of MMA since 2013, previously working as a featured columnist for 411Mania. Evan has followed MMA and professional wrestling for most of his life. His joy is in finding the stories and characters within all combat sports and presenting them in a serious yet light-hearted way.

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