After a long 5-month free agency period Francis Ngannou, the UFC Heavyweight Champion, has found his new home. The Predator will be taking his talents to the PFL where he will set a new standard for fighter pay, which has been a talk of concern when it comes to the UFC. The Pro Fighters League signed him to what is called an Exclusive Global MMA Strategic Partnership.
On his Podcast, DCRC, Daniel Cormier made this statement on what this means for the sport:
“I want to make sure that we communicate to the world that this is not a normal situation. 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. 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.”
That leverage has led to wanting to give himself the opportunity to do whatever he can without the constraints of the UFC having the final say over him. He wants to be an actor, he wants to do a few boxing exhibitions in which he’s in talks with Deontay Wilder as we speak, and overall he just wants to broaden his horizons. All of that while still fighting on his terms and for the pay he feels he deserves to make. One of the perks of his signing with the PFL that made him proud was being named PFL Africa Chairman and Minority Equity Owner. This means he also gets the chance to make an impact on the recruitment level.
Just like in boxing where walls needed to be broken down to get fighters more pay and more recognition, MMA is at the start of that tug of war and Ngannou is the first huge domino that will create that movement.
Here are all the details of Francis Ngannou’s signing with the PFL:
- He will fight in the Super Fight Division as a marquee name.
- Any opponent he faces will make no less than $2 million for the fight.
- Free to expand to boxing, acting, and other ventures.
- Split of the events profits he fights on along with a guaranteed 7 figure fight purse.
- Right to use own sponsors in the cage
Time will tell how this partnership/signing will go but at least this will be a move in the right direction for MMA fighters as a whole to step out and know their worth. Let’s see what the next pieces in the puzzle do. As Bruce Buffer always says, “Itsssssss Timmeee”