Former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou reportedly already has a verbal agreement with an unspecified mixed martial arts promotion, with the view to signing an official contract, after talks with Singapore-based promotion, ONE Championship broke down this weekend.
Ngannou, 36, a former undisputed heavyweight champion under the UFC banner, departed the Dana White-led organization back in January, having completed his contractual obligations with the promotion last December.
Leaving in less than ceremonious circumstances, the Cameroon striker was stripped of his undisputed heavyweight title, and removed from the official rankings, while the UFC waived their period of exclusive negotiating, allowing Ngannou to speak freely with other promotions.
Linked with a move to professional boxing in the immediate aftermath of his Octagon exit, Ngannou has yet to secure a deal to make what would be a debut in the squared-circle to boot.
Furthermore, the heavyweight knockout artist has been tipped to weigh up options with the likes of Bellator MMA, PFL (Professional Fighters League), and ONE Championship – however, both the former and latter organizations have withdrawn from the race to land his signature.
ONE Championship withdrew from talks with Francis Ngannou overnight
Holding crunch talks with the former heavyweight champion this weekend in Los Angeles, ONE Championship leader, Chatri Sityodtong confirmed overnight that his outfit had withdrawn from talks to sign the former, claiming a lack of “aligning” between the two.
“I met with Francis (Ngannou) yesterday for almost three hours,” Chatri Sityodtong said. “ONE has decided to withdraw from the process of bidding for Francis Ngannou’s services. After careful reflection, we decided not to submit our final offer. Francis is a good guy and a good champion. I wish him continued success and happiness.”
“At the end of the day, I didn’t feel like Francis and I were fully aligned on non-financial matters,” Sityodtong explained. “It is nothing personal. It is just a lack of alignment.”
In a recent development, mixed martial arts reporter, Ariel Helwani confirmed how he has spoke with Ngannou overnight to boot, with the latter confirming he already has a verbal agreement in place to sign with undisclosed mixed martial arts promotion, with an official announcement potentially on the horizon – as soon as this week.
When questioned by Sityodtong why he attended the three-hour-plus sitdown in California, Ngannou claimed he wanted to respect the date the duo had arranged, and wanted hear the ONE Championship leader out.