Francis Ngannou doesn’t normally talk dollar amounts, but in a recent interview, the former UFC heavyweight champion and new PFL signee revealed what he was making during his final contract with the UFC prior to winning the heavyweight title in March 2021.
“100, 120 [thousand per fight],” Ngannou declared on the Dan LeBatard show.
Ngannou’s looming free agency became one of the more interesting stories of this past year following his successful title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January 2022 — a fight Ngannou won while dealing with injuries to his ACL and MCL. While the UFC threw an offer at Ngannou to re-sign with the promotion, which included a massive fight with now-champ Jon Jones, the 36-year-old opted to sign with the PFL, where not only will he compete for the organization as a fighter, but will have multiple roles within it — including being named chairman of PFL Africa.
The reason for the decision to sign with the PFL wasn’t just a money thing; it was about respect. As Ngannou thought back to how he says he was treated in his final three-plus years with the UFC, the decision became clearer.
“What I was asking for, at first, was can I have a fight, because I had an eight-fight contract, and I wanted to fulfill that contract, but they wouldn’t allow me [to] since I wasn’t going to sign another contract because they know that if I fulfill that contract, I’m automatically free,” Ngannou said.
“They used some kind of dirty game there — freeze me out. They knew how much I was getting per fight. It wasn’t much at all, [a] few pennies. They knew I couldn’t make a living out of it so I had to come back and accept that contract.
“That was after the Junior dos Santos fight in June 2019,” Ngannou continued. “One of the things that was hard about that as well was the pressure they were putting on. I’m just me, and they are them. They are massive.”
Ngannou is expected to make his PFL debut in 2024 and is hopeful to have a boxing match later this year.