During an interview Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, revealed just how much money he’s left on the table with the UFC as a result of his two-year contract dispute with the promotion.
The dispute stems from a term on Ngannou’s current UFC contract that prevents him from fighting for other promoters. Specifically, Ngannou is looking to fight boxing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in a boxing match and he can’t due to the terms of his contract.
“This wasn’t just a fight,” Ngannou said in regard to battling with the UFC in the lead up to his title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. “I was just not fighting in the Octagon, I was fighting for everything that I stand for. It was way more beyond the fight. It was for my principle. It was for things that I believe in. So that was the reason that I was fighting.
“I mean, even when they’re trying to reach out for a deal, they came out with a good amount of money. I’m like, at this point that doesn’t matter. I left all that down on the table, like I don’t even care. I’m taking my $600,000. I’m going there. I’m doing this. And winning everything.”
“Yeah, I did,” Ngannou said when asked if all he really made was $600,000 for the fight against Gane. “I left a lot more on the table,” he added.
“I’ve been leaving a lot of money on the table, Ariel, even since the Stipe (Miocic) fight. By now, I might be down at least $7 million that I left on the table.
“But I’m still happy with my $600,000, because I still fight for what I go for. And this is the thing, there is two things. Freedom doesn’t work with money. You give up one for (the other). Whether you want freedom or whether you want money. You give up one to gain one.”
Ngannou seems to still be interested in fighting for the UFC, as long as he’s allowed the freedom to box or make money elsewhere if he pleases.
“You can be free and fight for the UFC,” Ngannou said when asked if he wants to be free and to not fight for the UFC anymore. “I just want to be free.
“I mean, we are supposedly independent contractors. Independent contractor technically is a free person. And that’s the reason why they need some adjustment in that contract. That’s what I’ve been fighting for.”
When Ngannou was asked about his specific issue with the UFC, here’s what he had to say.
“The term of the contract. Everything that they put into it. They hold you like in captivity. Like you can’t do anything, you have no right, the contract is one sided. Although we don’t even have health insurance while you’re putting your body on the line to provide to put on a show. Risking everything.
“There’s a lot of things, man. We have no insurance. Nothing. Like no guarantee, which I understand as an independent contractor, but treat me as such then if I am. .. It’s very mixed up.”
Ngannou’s contract with the UFC is set to expire in December of this year, which if the issue isn’t resolved by then, would make Ngannou a free agent and free to do as he pleases with his career.