Francis Ngannou didn’t want to ‘lose control’ in contract negotiations with the UFC, refused to withdraw from UFC 270

Francis Ngannou, UFC, Eric Nicksick
Mandatory Credit: Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Image

Francis Ngannou was injured heading into his UFC 270 title fight. That didn’t stop him from fighting former training partner Ciryl Gane. 

The UFC heavyweight champion suffered a torn ACL and injured MCL. The knee issues almost forced him to withdraw from the fight. 

Ngannou, who is in a contract dispute with the UFC, didn’t want to ‘lose control’ in discussions by not fighting in the title fight in Anaheim, California. In a new episode of his vlog, Ngannou spoke about his mindset heading into the pay-per-view. 

I couldn’t take that for so long,” Ngannou said. “My only concern was this will keep going for over months again, and then I’m losing control of the talk and everything. Like, no – this is not happening.” (h/t MMAJunkie

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A torn ACL is painful and can cause the loss of range in motion in one’s knee. According to Cleveland Clinic, the recovery time is typically six to nine months without any disruptions. 

Francis Ngannou’s Coach Didn’t Want Him To Fight With A Damaged Knee

Xtreme Couture head coach Eric Nicksick tried to convince an injured Ngannou to withdraw from his fight. He didn’t want his star athlete to risk more damage while hurt. 

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Let me play devil’s advocate in this regard only because I’m talking about – just, we love you,” Nicksick said. “That’s it. The bottom line is, what do you gain by fighting injured? What’s there to gain? If you knock this dude out and we win, then what’s next?

But what do you have to lose if this gets worse, or you get hurt, or you lose this fight? What are the pros vs. the cons? And I’m not telling you one is more than the other, but I think that’s what we need to decide as a team or a family, and then you have to make the decision at the end of the day. I know, we all know, these motherf*ckers don’t give a f*ck about you, bro. So why are we doing them a favor?” (h/t MMAJunkie)

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Ngannou had surgery to repair his ACL and MCL in March. It’s unclear on who the champion will face in his return but rumors have pointed to Jon Jones. Heading into UFC 270, Ngannou expressed how he will not fight under his old UFC contract. 

I will not fight for $500,000 [or] $600,000 anymore,” he said. “It’s over. I took this fight for personal reasons, because I want to make sure that regardless of [whether] it’s fair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights.”