The fallout from Francis Ngannou’s historic deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) is ongoing, and is showing no sign of slowing.
Francis Ngannou, a former UFC heavyweight champion, departed mixed martial arts’ premier promotion this past January, beginning a stint in free agency that concluded this week with a groundbreaking agreement with the rising PFL promotion.
While many had seemingly begun to doubt whether “The Predator” would achieve the deal he set out to acquire by exiting the UFC, the Cameroon native appears to have secured that and more.
In addition to having the freedom to box, which had long appeared to be a non-negotiable in any contract, Ngannou has also managed to guarantee a minimum payment of $2 million for his opponents and a seat on PFL’s advisory board.
One man who has been consistently supportive of Ngannou and his desire to improve contractual agreements is reigning UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya, and his backing of his fellow African fighter has continued following confirmation of his next career move.
Israel Adesanya Reacts To Francis Ngannou-PFL, Questions ONE’s Tactics
During a recent video on his YouTube channel, Israel Adesanya reacted to Ngannou’s PFL agreement, which has been described as ‘setting a new standard for the free-agency market’ by former two-division UFC champ Daniel Cormier.
The Nigerian-New Zealander insisted that the Cameroonian’s ability to secure his desired terms, especially ones that aid more than just him as an individual, will be beneficial for the sport as a whole.
“(I’m) stoked… It’s good news. It’s good for the game, I think,” Israel Adesanya said. “What I really like is how his opponent is guaranteed a (two) million. That’s cool. What he’s doing with PFL Africa… You can see the potential already. And Francis has a seat at the board, the table.
“The thing about his opponent (being) guaranteed a (two) million, how many fighters are gonna be like, ‘Right, I need to get to the PFL. I wanna fight Francis.’ Because now Francis is the guy, the money fight,” Adesanya continued. “That’s another twist on it that I like.”
Israel Adesanya also took aim at ONE Championship following comments from CEO Chatri Sityodtong prior to confirmation of Ngannou’s PFL signing.
The Asian promotion’s chief met with “The Predator” in Los Angeles earlier this month, with some believing a deal could come together. But soon after, Sityodtong claimed that he’d decided to withdraw from the Ngannou sweepstakes owing to some unrealistic demands.
The heavyweight knockout artist has since provided his side of the story, noting that he already had the agreement with the PFL in place and was simply meeting with Sityodtong out of courtesy.
Adesanya seemingly shares the view of many in the MMA community, who have accused Sityodtong of attempting to get ahead of things with a twisted narrative. “The Last Stylebender” branded the ONE CEO’s move “Shady” and unnecessary.
“One thing I didn’t like, I’ll say, is f*cking what ONE did,” Adesanya said. “Francis put out to them first, ‘This is the offer I have on the table, can you match this?’ They couldn’t match it and then brought out that statement saying, ‘We are withdrawing,’ and everyone tried to harp on about it. I just thought that was shady. They didn’t have to do that.”
Ultimately, while Sityodtong dismissed Francis Ngannou’s desired terms as unfeasible, “The Predator” appears to have secured them under a different banner. He’s now expected to turn his focus to a debut in the ring before entering the SmartCage in mid-2024.