Minimum estimate on Francis Ngannou’s purse for Tyson Fury already looks massive

Francis Ngannou is set to make 'life changing' money despite possible UFC machinations to throw a wrench in the plans.

By: Stephie Haynes | 2 months ago

Francis Ngannou has been poised to make a fortune for months, and with his PFL signing, he has been afforded the ability to fight outside the confines of the cage. In their willingness to accommodate the lineal UFC heavyweight champion, the PFL have granted Francis the chance to take boxing matches outside their purview, even with his clear intent to have a boxing match before ever setting foot in a PFL cage.

The red carpet treatment

Moreover, they’re not even trying to get in on a co-promotion ride the way the UFC did when Conor McGregor boxed and lost to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Nope, Francis Ngannou was shown nothing but a willingness to meet his demands, even to the point of ensuring that his future opponents are also paid well (to the tune of $1-2M per fight).

The UFC brass, in their unwillingness to compromise, let their sitting champion walk. In the time since Ngannou’s signing, Dana White resorted to backhanded insults and barbs. “I don’t want to talk shit about the PFL but…” Among those was the declaration that the idea of Francis Ngannou facing off against Tyson Fury was a gimmick fight and “That’s just not what we do here” would be the words that ended up turning into a meme.

Did the UFC try to derail Francis Ngannou?

White would wait no longer than a couple days before using his social media to beg, plead and goad Tyson Fury into taking a fight with Jon Jones. Somehow, a fight with Ngannou would’ve been a gimmick, but that same bout with Jon jones facing Fury would’ve been “the biggest fight in history.”

The attempted courtship of Tyson Fury for a fight with Jones went on for a week or two, then fizzled out. The most interesting part was the timing of it. Rumors had been flying that Francis and Tyson were close to finalizing their bout and it was at that time the UFC began a very aggressive pursuit of Fury for a pairing with Jones.

If you’re thinking that it looks like the UFC were actively trying to sabotage Ngannou-Fury, you wouldn’t be the only one. In a recent interview on the MMA Hour, Francis Ngannou’s longtime representative, Marquel Martin, shared that they viewed the UFC’s meddling as an attempt at derailing their negotiations with Fury.

“I think for everyone that has been initiated within the UFC and kind of really understands it, it’s no surprise, right?” Martin said this week on The MMA Hour. “Dana is one of the best promoters that we’ve ever seen. I’ll always say that. So when we saw it, we just kind of [were] like, ‘Of course.’ Right? Of course you would say, on one end, it’s a gimmick fight. … And then on the other hand, it comes to where it’s like, ‘Oh no, we’ll put that on.’ So I’m sure that they wanted that fight.”

“I think they really wanted to just mess up our chances, to be quite honest. I think, for whatever reason, there’s a sour taste in their mouth when it comes to Francis. And yeah, they don’t want Francis to be able to have that opportunity. Right? I think that was clear to us for a while. For what reason? I don’t know, you have to ask them. But it’s a moot point.”

Making the deal

There is still a celebratory feeling reverberating throughout the community, and that is due to Francis Ngannou being able to successfully get away from the restrictive confines of the UFC. In doing so, he signed a historic deal with the PFL and secured a match with boxing’s heavyweight champion, and from the sound of it, he’s going to get paid.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani, Francis Ngannou said that the money he’s getting paid to box Tyson Fury is “life changing” and that it dwarfed his UFC pay.

“What I will tell you is that, compared to what I was making for my UFC fight, it’s day and night,” Francis Ngannou said Monday on The MMA Hour. “It’s life changing. And it would be the same thing if I was fighting in the PFL first. What I was making, what I did make in my last [UFC] fight, doesn’t even count. It’s not close, anywhere close.”

He was asked if his boxing purse was going to be more than he’d made over the entirety of his UFC career. The answer was yes.

“One-hundred percent, yes. I didn’t make that much in my entire UFC career, basically after turning down all those contracts that could have made me more money. But yes, if we count it, absolutely.” He didn’t volunteer an exact number, but rumors have it that he is expected to make an eight-figure purse.

How much could Francis Ngannou make against Fury?

Bloody Elbow financial columnist John Nash had this to offer:

“Both Francis Ngannou and his manager Marquel Martin have stated that his purse from this upcoming boxing match against Tyson Fury will surpass the total that he would have earned if he had signed with the UFC. Based on the information we have, this would imply that it could earn him at least $18 million.”

The feeling of finally being financially secure in his future comes with a bit of an “I told ya so” vibe, though. He’s not bothered by those that didn’t have faith in his ability to get these deals done. He says he’s used to it.

“It’s the story of my life,” Ngannou said. “Everything that I have done, nobody has ever believed in me until it was done. This was the case [here] and I felt pretty good about it. I was like, ‘Yes. I got it done.’”

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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