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Why did the UFC decide to release Francis Ngannou from his contract?

Jon Jones is set to fight Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight title after Francis Ngannou gets released from UFC. Here’s what Dana White said about it

Jon Jones is set to fight Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight title after Francis Ngannou gets released from UFC. Here's what Dana White said about it

Cameroonian-French Francis Ngannou has left the UFC after being released from his contract.

The shocking news came after UFC president Dana White said Saturday that the former UFC heavyweight champion turned down a contract that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight fighter in UFC history.

“We offered Ngannou a deal that would make him the highest-paid heavyweight of all time,” said White in a press conference. “He turned it down. We’re going to release him from his contract. He can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants.”

White also stated that Ngannou had been in negotiations for a new agreement for two years, and he was set to face off against American MMA fighter, Jon Jones.

We can’t continue to hold up the division to come to an agreement with this guy,” White added. “We did everything we could to make the fight happen and give him the fight. But he’s got it in his head that there’s bigger opportunities outside the UFC with lesser opponents.”

Jones to face Gane instead

With Ngannou gone, Jones will face Ciryl Gane for the now-vacant UFC heavyweight title in Las Vegas on March 8. He returns after a three-year absence from the sport- since beating Dominick Reyes in February 2020. The 35-year-old, who is widely considered one of the best mixed martial arts fighters of all time, gave up his light-heavyweight title over a pay dispute.

Jones holds the record as the youngest champion in UFC history, having won his first title at 23 years old, and successfully defended it 11 times.

“Jon Jones has been willing and ready and able to fight anybody - he didn’t care who it was,” White said.

Frenchman Gane, on the other hand, missed out on the heavyweight title by unanimous decision to Ngannou at UFC 270 in January 2022.


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