After failing to reach an agreement on Francis Ngannou’s demands for a contract extension, former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has expressed his full backing for Ngannou’s choice to leave the UFC.
The New Zealander of Nigerian descent believes that Ngannou made the right decision when he decided against re-signing with the UFC and instead pursued a career in free agency, despite the fact that he gave up his heavyweight title. Ngannou’s departure from the promotion was due to the fact that he wasn’t granted some contractually required concessions.
Adesanya believes that Ngannou’s demands were reasonable, and he applauds Ngannou for looking out for the health and safety of other fighters.
“Francis made the right call, he’s the one that kicked in the door. We’ve all been behind him. We’ve been saying this for how long? If you guys go back on the tapes, I’ve been saying the same thing. I’m not going to harp on about it, but he’s right. It’s little things. He’s asking for things that should be mandatory,” Adesanya said.
“He wasn’t asking for, you know, crazy, ridiculous diva demands. There’s something as little as for the guys fighting on the opening (bouts), having the fourth or third corner man being paid for, and the hotel is being paid for. That sets them up nicely, and they don’t have to fork it out of their $10K to pay for their fourth or third corner man – little things like that.
“He’s not being a diva. He’s asking for reasonable demands, and I felt like he should have got them. UFC president Dana White said, ‘That’s not how we do business.’ But the way we do business has to change, and it will change. He’s just the guy to kick in the door.”
Ngannou, who fought for the UFC until January of this year, stated that he had a number of requests for the renewal of his contract, but that he did not require fulfillment of all of them. According to Ngannou, some of the things he requested included roster health insurance, the chance to get sponsorship, and fighter representation.
Adesanya considers such requests to be reasonable, and he hopes that some of the aforementioned adjustments may be made in the near or distant future.