It’s the move that further signals UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou’s uncertain future at the company.
UFC boss Dana White opted not to Ngannou wrap the heavyweight title around the French-Cameroonian’s waist after beating Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on Sunday (AEDT) before skipping the post-fight press conference in a rare move.
It marked the last fight on Ngannou’s current UFC deal, while ‘The Predator’ recently said he’s no longer willing to fight for $500,000 or $600,000 and wanted a boxing crossover built into his next contract.
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The 35-year old was left shocked by White’s decision to not wrap the belt around him, saying: “I don‘t know (why that happened), you have to ask him.”
Furthermore, White’s snub was met with criticism from the UFC world, that came down hard on the president.
MMA writer Elias Cepeda tweeted: “Dana White’s salty b*tch a** kept himself out the cage afterwards. Good. He doesn’t deserve to wrap the belt around the champion. The UFC doesn’t deserve NGannou.”
Ngannou’s contract situation has played out very publicly recently amid disputes with the UFC, largely through his manager Marquel Martin.
White said pre-fight he had faith of working through an extension with Ngannou despite being at loggerheads of late.
“I’ve been in contract drama for 20 years with people. It’s part of the business. I honestly don’t know where we’ll end up after Sunday,” he told TMZ.
“We’ll see how the fight goes, we’ll see what happens and I’m sure we’ll figure it out one way or another.
“Francis and I have had our moments over the last several years. I bumped into him at dinner a few weeks ago and we had a good conversation.
“It was funny because we needed to talk. We needed to see each other and the universe made it happen.
“We’ll see how these things play out. I don’t blame Francis as much as I blame the not so very smart people that surround him.”
Meanwhile, Ngannou after defeating Gane reasserted his desire to pursue boxing.
“As I always say, boxing is always in the back of my pocket. It’s something that I must do before the end of my career!” he said.
“And right now, I’m really looking towards any opportunity to get that because it’s not like I had a lifetime here.
“So I better start thinking about it.”