Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has signed with the PFL.
That cat is out of the bag and the heaviest recorded hitter in the world is now in the PFL! After becoming a free agent at the beginning of the year due to a conflict of interest with the UFC, Ngannou has finally made up his mind as to where he'll be taking his talents next. Ngannou finally made a deal that he seems to be happy with, and we'll see him put on the MMA gloves again.
What Happened Between Francis Ngannou And The UFC?
Personally, I don't know a thing about running a business or the pay structure of a multi-billion dollar company, but I do know that the things Francis left for wasn't because of a monetary dispute. Francis wanted what's right for the fighters, the type of stuff that employees unionize and strike over. Better benefits, more of a voice, and more pay from the jump.
However, the UFC brass weren't on board, and they'd rather let go of one of the biggest names in fighting rather than change how they do things in the UFC. While it sucks that things played out like this, the UFC obviously has done a lot right and there's some merit as to why they don't want to change things.
What Was Enticing About The PFL?
The PFL does a lot of things different from the UFC; fighters earn points based on the result of their fights, the divisions are set in a bracket format, and the winner of their respective bracket makes a million dollars in addition to their pay-per-fight.
The PFL is doing some groundbreaking stuff. Recently and more relevantly, the Professional Fighters League signed Jake Paul to co-promote and help run a new division within the organization called the “PFL PPV Super Fight Division“. It is rather self explanatory. This division will pay 50% of it's revenue to the fighters involved in the events it hosts. This is the division where we'll see Francis scrapping.
Francis Ngannou Details His PFL Contract
Just earlier, it was officially announced that Francis Ngannou is with the PFL!
— PFL (@PFLMMA) May 16, 2023
Francis joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to talk about his Professional Fighters League signing, if he got what he wanted, and pretty much everything you'd need to know about this huge shift in the MMA world.
First and foremost, this is no typical fight contract; Ngannou has the ability and the vision to take a boxing match, and he'll probably do so before he competes in MMA again. However, it is a multiple fight contract that Ngannou signed, so this is not a one and done move on his part.
Additionally, Francis will not be a part of the tournaments, but rather, he'll be fighting under the aforementioned PFL PPV Super Fight division. And, while not a lot of people are throwing their names in the hat to fight this heavy-hitter, it is in his contract that his opponent's will make at least two million dollars themselves. So, there's some incentive.
There are more perks to Francis Ngannou's PFL Deal
A big controversy in the UFC lore was when the fighters lost their preferred sponsors and had to settle with the fight kits that the UFC allowed for them to wear. Though some fighters benefitted from this, a lot voiced their concerns and let the world know that this interfering with part of their fight night income.
Francis, as well as the other fighters on the PFL roster, will be able to sport two-three sponsors of their choice. But that's nothing new for the PFL — the more ground-breaking detail on this contract is that Francis Ngannou will have a seat at the fighter advisory board. Francis himself will be there on behalf of himself and the fighters.
Depending on who you listen to, you may hear some disinformation as to why Ngannou left. Sure, he's asking for the money that he's worth, but he wants to do right by all of the fighters, not just himself. This contract is a big deal — not just for Francis, but for the sport of MMA as a whole.