ONE Championship leader, Chatri Sityodtong has today claimed that former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou rejected a cool $20,000,000 offer to sign with the Singapore-based mixed martial arts promotion – claiming to the Batié native, “the money wasn’t enough”.

Ngannou, 36, a former undisputed heavyweight champion under the banner of the UFC, has been sidelined from active mixed martial arts competition since headlining UFC 270 back in January of last year against former interim gold holder, Ciryl Gane.

Successfully unifying the division titles, Ngannou would then see his contractual obligations with the UFC come to an end in December of last year, before he was granted his immediate release from the Dana White-led promotion in January of this year.

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Yet to pen terms on a contract with a promotion to make a return to mixed martial arts, Ngannou recently saw crunch talks with the above-mentioned, ONE Championship come to a screeching halt over the weekend, with the promotion withdrawing from the race to sign the Cameroonian. 

Francis Ngannou already struck prior verbal agreement

In further developments last night, Francis Ngannou claimed that prior to his three-hour-plus meeting with ONE Championship over the weekend, he had already struck a verbal agreement with an undisclosed promotion ahead of an expected deal, potentially as soon as this week.

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However, according to the above-mentioned Sityodtong, financial hurdles could not be traversed with Ngannou – who he claims rejected a guaranteed $20,000,000 deal to join ONE Championship.

“He (Francis Ngannou) was asking for a seat at the board of directors, he was asking for him to determine his opponent’s pay,” Chatri Sityodtong told The Daily Star during a recent interview. “We offered him $20,000,000 guaranteed, the money wasn’t enough, he wanted all of these other non-financial terms that didn’t make a lot of sense.”

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“We obviously can’t give a seat at the board of directors, that doesn’t make any sense, he would be a fish out of water [in that position],” Sityodtong continued. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.