Francis Ngannou is the UFC heavyweight champion and the No.5-ranked pound-for-pound fighter. He has been vocal about his desire for a pay raise for quite some time now and has even threatened to leave the promotion.
Following former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold‘s comments on fighter pay, Ngannou spoke out in support.
Rockhold will face Paulo Costa at UFC 278, and at the event’s media day he didn’t hold back when discussing a variety of issues he believes are plauging the UFC. Ngannou added to those comments with a series of tweet, touching on how the UFC has personally cost him money.
One of the more powerful messages in his tweets read:
“Fighters are ripped off with Sponsorship. It’s a huge source of revenue for us but the company keeps exploiting that for their own benefit.”
Francis Ngannou’s tweets, if true, should be a serious cause for concern for the promotion. The tweets read off as if Ngannou was forced to turn down a million dollars, which is more than he has made in any of his UFC fights. ‘The Predator’ has teased a boxing match against Tyson Fury, which would surely guarantee him the biggest payday of his career.
Ngannou has previously stated that he gave up $7 million while hoping for a better deal with the UFC. If fighters are truly losing out on this amount of money, we could see more big-name fighters follow in the footsteps of Francis Ngannou and Nate Diaz, and express their desire to leave the UFC for better financial opportunities.
The UFC is by far the best promotion in mixed martial arts. It allows fighters endless opportunities, particularly from a recognition standpoint. Once those fighters reach levels of popularity, however, they want to be compensated properly. From the UFC’s perspective, the fighters wouldn’t get to where they are popularity-wise without the promotion.
Francis Ngannou and other UFC fighter pay disputes
Francis Ngannou has stated that his next contract must include a pay raise, as well as allow him the ability to participate in boxing matches. While it remains to be seen if his demands will be met before his contract expires in December, he is not the only fighter to have a contract dispute with the UFC.
Nate Diaz is also currently at odds with the promotion. With his contract set to expire in October, he will face Khamzat Chimaev in the main event of UFC 279. With the fight taking place in September, it is possible that it could be Diaz’s last UFC fight.
Jon Jones has been locked in a contract dispute with the UFC for several years. Jones stated on Steve-O’s Wild Ride! that he would give up his light heavyweight belt and sit out for years over his contract dispute. These comments came after Dana White stated that Jones wanted to be paid similar money to boxer Deontay Wilder. Jones has not fought since February of 2020, and relinquished the belt in August of that same year.
Jorge Masvidal had a smaller dispute with the UFC in 2020, however, it was quickly resolved. Within a month of asking for his UFC release, Masvidal was given a new contract and asked to step in and replace an injured Gilbert Burns to face Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.