don’t speak for me
UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou said he would encourage other fighters not in the same position as him to avoid speaking out in support of his efforts.
The relationship between the MMA frontman and one of his main titleholders has certainly been strained for some time. From the promotion’s decision to introduce an interim belt last year — and the level of disrespect Ngannou perceived for it — to an ongoing contract dispute, a number of factors have led to the cracks appearing. .
Things came to a head in and around UFC 270, where “The Predator” defended his title against the undefeated Ciryl Gane. Along with an apparent pre-fight lawsuit threat sent to Ngannou’s manager, Dana White’s Octagon and absence from the post-fight press conference caused a stir.
Now, with Ngannou recovering from surgery and targeting a boxing fight with WBC and the ring With heavyweight champion Tyson Fury returning, it won’t be long before the UFC agrees on a new deal with the Cameroonian.
With that in mind, and with his broader criticism of UFC contracts, you might expect Ngannou to encourage as many fighters as possible to speak out. On the contrary, the champion does not see the advantage of doing so for the most part.
Ngannou: I’m not sure others can handle this
During a recent appearance on MMA hour with Ariel Helwani, Ngannou discussed the impact other fighters could make by voicing their concerns. But according to the heavyweight king, it’s not that simple.
Ngannou suggested that in most positions, fighters who speak out will be shunned by the organization and unable to handle the response that comes with the kind of persevering stance “The Predator” has taken.
That said, Ngannou revealed that he would actually encourage fighters to avoid standing by his side as he strives to bring about change.
“It’s easy for people on the outside to just say ‘Ah, we think the fighters should talk’ or ‘We think some people will support you.’ No, it’s not easy, my brother, it’s not easy,” Ngannou insisted. “If they talk out loud in certain positions, guess what? The next day they came out. no voice. They don’t get a chance to speak twice at all. So you kind of understand that, you kind of understand the situation.
“I know what it is, I’m inside. So, I can blame someone and if someone says, “Yes, I’ll stand by you”, guess what? I’ll be like, ‘Don’t do that because it might go south and I’m not sure you’re going to handle that. But I can take it. Could you? I don’t think so,” Ngannou concluded.
Some shared a similar sentiment to Ngannou and used it to explain why an oft-called fighters union has not yet been created. According to UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Peña, there will always be fighters willing to accept the terms that others are standing up against.
With that in mind, perhaps it is the protection of a championship that is needed. In addition to Ngannou, middleweight king Israel Adesanya has backed Jake Paul’s public campaign to raise fighters’ pay, while bantamweight titleholder Aljamain Sterling has expressed a desire to see better pay in the sport. .
Do you agree with Francis Ngannou? Is it dangerous for other fighters to denounce the UFC?