This past Saturday played witness to a monumental moment in the MMA world. Former UFC champion Francis Ngannou finally got his day in the sun; a boxing match against heavyweight title holder Tyson Fury. A lifelong dream for the Cameroonian-born Frenchman, his bout was expected to be little more than a one-sided tune-up for Fury on his way to a bout with Oleksandr Usyk. Instead, fans were treated to a highly competitive split decision, where the ‘Predator’s striking prowess was on full display.
In fact, the fight was so close that many observers felt that Ngannou should have gotten the nod. The 37-year-old was competitive in every round with Fury, and scored the bout’s biggest moment of offensive prowess, a clean knockdown in the third round. With a little more time to think, more and more people seem to feel Ngannou was a victim of highway robbery.
Chael Sonnen rails against Tyson Fury scorecards
Unsurprisingly, one such voice belongs to former multiple-time UFC title contender Chael Sonnen. The ‘American Gangster’ has never been shy of an opinion when controversy is brewing. Shortly after Fury got the nod in Riyadh, Sonnen took to social media to voice his displeasure.
“Boxing is not a real sport,” Chael Sonnen said in a recent YouTube video (transcript via MMA Junkie). “That hurts me. That hurts me to say, but there’s no way to deny that.”
“A man’s body of work deserves to be recognized, and it deserves to be recognized accurately,” he continued. “That is disgusting, what they just did to him. Anybody would’ve been wise to predict that that was going to happen. There was no chance that boxing was going to allow him to come in and get that win if it went to a decision.”
Daniel Cormier glows about Francis Ngannou
Once Chael Sonnen’s ESPN talk show partner, UFC commentator Daniel Cormier had his own take on the fight. Cormier didn’t get into the weeds of how the bout should have been scored, however, instead keeping his focus to the remarkable achievement Francis Ngannou put forth, just by being so competitive against one of the best boxers in the world today.
“Francis Ngannou proved that he is the baddest man on the planet,” Cormier said in a recent video uploaded to his own YouTube (transcript via BJPenn.com). “Why? Because he was the heavyweight champion of the UFC, and he fought the lineal heavyweight champion of the world to a split decision.
“Tyson Fury could not fight Francis Ngannou in mixed martial arts in the way that Francis fought Tyson in boxing. There’s no way a fight between any boxer and the UFC heavyweight champion in mixed martial arts goes to that type of decision. It was the most impressive performance I’ve ever seen for a guy outside of the realm of expertise. Make no mistake.”
End of the day, whether Chael Sonnen wants to get wrapped up in the scoring controversy, or DC wants to make sure that Ngannou gets his metaphorical flowers, the narrative is the same. Francis Ngannou shocked the boxing and the MMA world in Saudi Arabia. The only question left to ask is: What’s next? Can the PFL find a fight to match the Xtreme Couture athlete’s newly invigorated star status? Or is it all boxing from here on out?
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