UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou detailed his frustrations with the promotion over his current contractual structure.
Ngannou spoke with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of The MMA Hour and revealed how the restrictiveness of his contract, combined with the way the company holds the power over their fighters, as well as the way they've treated him over the past year, are some of the core issues of his strained relationship with them.
“The terms of the contract, everything that they put into, they hold you in captivity,” Ngannou said (h/t MMA Fighting). “You can’t do anything. You have no rights. The contract is one-sided, although you still don't have nothing. You don’t even have health insurance, even while you’re putting your body on the line to provide to put on the show. You’re risking everything. There’s a lot of things. We have no insurance. Nothing. No guarantee, which I understand as an independent contractor, but treat me as such if I am. Whether I’m going to be an employee or an independent contractor, make it very clear in the contract. It’s very mixed up. The UFC really went out there and tried to damage my brand. That’s probably the thing that I hated most about this, how they hold all the cards, the power to just destroy you. As soon as you don’t say yes, they just take you down. There’s something wrong with me with those kinds of things, that I just can’t take it.”
He continued on to talk about whether he wants to still fight with the UFC or not, and made it clear he's willing to leave the promotion if it means getting what Ngannou himself feels he's earned.
“Good question,” The 35-year old heavyweight star said. “Do the UFC still want me to fight there? You should ask them. They should be the one answering that question. If they make things right, yes [I will fight for them]. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get what I want. As I said even before this fight, I walked into this fight knowing I could have lost this fight. But I reviewed everything, and in me, if this is it, if this is the end, let it be my way. It’s going to be on my way. I’m going to make the call on how it ends. It won’t end on somebody’s rules. It will end on my rules. If this is the end, I am happy. From where I came from, I have done a lot. Some people might not see that, but I have done it and I am very happy about that. I’m proud of myself. That might be my ego, but I’m proud of myself, what I have achieved. But I don’t want all this to take what I have, to change me, to change my principle.”