Francis Ngannou’s manager reveals there has been no contact with UFC for 6 months
Marquel Martin, the manager and representative of UFC heavyweight champion, Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou, has revealed there has been no verbal contact between both parties since June of this year, ahead of the Cameroonian’s Octagon return next month.
Ngannou, the promotion’s heavyweight champion, is scheduled to headline UFC 270 on January 22., in a heavyweight championship unification bout with interim gold holder, Ciryl Gane. Notably, the bout will come as the last on Ngannou’s current contract with the promotion.
The Batie native’s relationship with the promotion and its president, Dana White has been publicly frayed, to say the least, with the former unable to score a title rematch against Derrick Lewis back in August or September due to scheduling conflicts, resulting in the introduction of an interim title.
While Ngannou is the current heavyweight champion, he also only has a single fight remaining on his contract with the UFC. And the above mentioned, White seems in two minds regarding the future of Ngannou beyond January.
“Look, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you,” White told ESPN MMA “If you don’t want to with us, no problem. It’s all good. I think his (Francis Ngannou), and this is off the top of my head, if he wins he still has time (champions clause) with us after this fight. He’d probably have one more fight.”
And according to the above noted, Martin of CAA, the promotion has yet to open talks with Ngannou regarding the renewal of his contract, and have not made contact with them in the last six months.
“From the beginning, we’ve always and still do remain, like, open to negotiating with UFC,” Martin told the Throwing Down podcast on Sirius XM. “Even from my standpoint and his representation’s standpoint, UFC is the best MMA promoter in the game, in the business. However, where a lot of people don’t want to come out and say or mean is that it has to make sense for the client. It has to make sense for Francis.”
“At the end of the day, I work for Francis, and he and I spent a lot of time chatting back and forth and trying to understand, OK, exactly what does that mean for this future, and we’ve had a lot of back and forth with the UFC,” Martin continued. “But to be honest with you, I haven’t heard back from the UFC since, I want to say June.”
Ngannou’s contractual obligations with the UFC depend majorly on the outcome of his January unification bout with Gane it must be noted. Should he successfully unify the crowns and defeat Gane, Ngannou could be subject to what’s called a ‘champion’s clause’, which would see him remain in the organization as a titleholder, which could see his contract extended.
On the other hand, should he drop a defeat to former teammate, Gane, Ngannou could be officially released from the promotion upon the completion of his current contractual binding, which would allow him to test free agency. Ngannou could also find himself facing periods of both exclusive matching and negotiation period if he is not released from the UFC.
Josh Nash, a reporter for Bloody Elbow, has noted recently that, while definitive details of Ngannou’s contract are not disclosed, the Cameroon native could be limited to obligations with the organization for a period of five years. However, it is not currently clear if the process of “tolling” extensions and provisions, would supersede the above obligations legally.
Martin also encouraged those who wonder how Ngannou’s relationship with the promotion has become so strained recently, to pursue their answers from White, as well as outlining the role he provides as Ngannou’s manager.
“You’ve got to ask Dana (White),” Martin said. “Ask UFC, because you hear this false narrative of representation. What does representation look like in your mind, UFC? To say, ‘Yes’, to every single thing that you do. Am I supposed to take you out to dinner, be your best friend? No, I have a fiduciary obligation with my client, and the facts are, OK, if you want to judge me and try to put me out of business for whatever reason and bully me publicly, I don’t respond to that. CAA doesn’t respond to that. We know how to do our job. We’re very competent at what we do.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)
Ngannou, 35, most recently competed professionally back at UFC 260 in March of this year, stopping former two-time undisputed heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic with a second round knockout to lift the undisputed heavyweight crown.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.