‘I’m sorry’ – Former UFC champ eats crow on career advice to Francis Ngannou

Many of those who said Francis Ngannou should go crawling back to the UFC are regretting their words after he signed to fight Tyson Fury.

By: Nate Wilcox | 4 weeks ago
‘I’m sorry’ – Former UFC champ eats crow on career advice to Francis Ngannou
IMAGO | USA TODAY by Troy Taormina

When Francis Ngannou first announced that he was leaving the UFC the critics were many and vocal. Chael Sonnen advised him to “wake up” call Dana White, presumably to beg for his job back. Conor McGregor suggested he seek new management.

Daniel Cormier then: ‘Francis Ngannou should just come back’

Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier was one of the doubters.

“It sucks because Francis was the man and he leaves, and now it seems like the options are very limited,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “He responded to ONE Championship this morning saying they’re being two-faced, but I’m telling you, it felt like the same thing that was happening to Lamar. I’m watching teams like, ‘You don’t have a quarterback, but you’re not interested in Lamar Jackson?’ This guy was the MVP of the NFL. It made no sense.

“To me, it’s the same thing. But ultimately Lamar Jackson ends up back (with the Baltimore Ravens). I believe that’s what Francis Ngannou should do. Francis Ngannou should just come back, because the reality is this: The money that he was offered, I’ve heard, was a very lucrative number. If he comes back, nothing changes. He walks right back into being in the heavyweight title picture, fighting for the championship, getting paid at that championship level.

“You sometimes have to just bite the bullet and go, ‘You know what, I’m going to go back to what’s familiar.’ Because you and I both agree there are some very dangerous fights for him in the boxing arena,” Cormier said. “So while you may cash in one time, it may not be sustainable, and he’s also 36 years old. So he doesn’t have much time. He hasn’t fought since last January. He’s 36 years old. Time is of the essence for Francis Ngannou so he needs to get busy.”

Cormier did praise PFL deal

In fairness to DC, he did sing Ngannou’s praises when the PFL deal was initially signed.

“I want to make sure that we communicate to the world that this is not a normal situation,” explained Cormier. “We’re talking about the heavyweight champion. You always knew that if anyone was going to set the standard for what is out there as a free agent, it was gonna be Francis [Ngannou].

“The moment he announced that he was gonna be moving on, you knew that the standard and the bar was going to be set by Francis. Any athlete can’t just be like, ‘I’m going to go and do something different because Francis Ngannou did something different.’ They have to have leverage. Ultimately, that leverage that Francis had was winning that fight in Anaheim and beating Ciryl Gane and walking away with the championship. He used it to try to accomplish something good.”

Cormier also shared his delight at Ngannou’s contract reportedly guaranteeing that his opponents would have a $2 million payday.

“Francis has a stipulation in his contract, at least it is thought to be, that even his opponents are getting a bump in pay. It’s not just Francis getting money. The guy that gets to fight Francis gets a payday that may even equal out to a million dollars. There are guys that would never make a million dollars, but if you step in there with Francis Ngannou, you can make a million dollars. There are very few people that can move the needle like that for themselves and their opponents.”

Daniel Cormier now: ‘I want to fumble your bag, too’

“First off, I’m sorry, Francis,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC” (transcription via MMA Junkie). “I want to fumble your bag, too, Francis. Can I ask you a question? Do you have to be a little bit naive to go out in that world like that and know your value to the point that you will even, when it looked dark, to stand on your loyal and go, ‘It’ll happen for me.’

“Francis had just enough of that, and now he finds himself – he’s going to make more money than he ever could have imagined making in his entire life because, guess what? They’re fighting in Saudi Arabia, which, somehow, literally just bought the PGA. … Francis and Tyson Fury are going to make so much money, it’s crazy.”

‘Beg for what? An equity stake?’

Luke Thomas didn’t pull any punches on those who doubted Ngannou.

“This is a terrible day and I truly mean a terrible day for all of the folks who said that the best bet for Francis Ngannou would be to crawl on his hands and knees and return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. And he could return to the UFC after fighting Tyson Fury and it might be to buy an equity stake.”

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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