It has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that Francis Ngannou will not be participating in the ONE Championship.
Recently, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion had a meeting with ONE CEO and Founder Chatri Sityodtong to talk about the potential of stopping his free agency and signing with ONE. The parties were unable to come to an agreement.
According to Sityodtong, the demands made by Ngannou were just impossible to fulfill in any reasonable manner.
According to what Sityodtong said to the Daily Star: “He was asking for a seat at the board of directors, he was asking for him to determine his opponent’s pay,” Sityodtong told the Daily Star. “We offered him $20 million guaranteed, the money wasn’t enough, he wanted all of these other non-financial terms that didn’t make a lot of sense.”
He came to the conclusion that: “We obviously can’t give a seat at the board of directors, that doesn’t make any sense, he would be a fish out of water [in that position].”
One makes its highly anticipated debut in the United States this coming weekend (Friday, May 5, 2023) at ONE Fight Night 10 in Denver, Colorado. Demetrious Johnson, the current kingpin of the ONE Flyweight division, will meet Adriano Moraes in a trilogy fight as the main event of the evening. Johnson is also a former champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The Cayman Islands-based mixed martial arts (MMA) behemoth Sityodtong and ONE have not yet committed to holding any other events in the United States, but they have high hopes that ONE Fight Night 10 will mark the beginning of a new chapter for the sport.
“For me to bringing the entire world of martial arts and introducing it to American fans is very surreal and at the same time, I have an overwhelming feeling of deep gratitude because America gave me the opportunity to make something of myself coming from literally nothing,” Sityodtong said.
“It gave me the financial resources to start ONE and in essence, I lived the American dream,” he concluded.
Ngannou, however, afterward called MMA reporter Ariel Helwani to stress that his verbal commitment to another organization, which might result in a signed contract as soon as this week, was the determining factor in passing on the “biggest” ONE deal.
“Francis’s side of the story is a little bit different, he was very transparent,” Helwani said. “Francis is very close to signing a new deal with another promotion. According to Francis, he was very upfront about this, so they left the meeting on good terms. Both of them came to an understanding that because he had already kind of verbally committed to someone, more than likely he’s not going to ONE.”