Francis Ngannou: First PFL Opponent to Receive $2 Million Guarantee
Francis Ngannou wasn’t looking out for only himself when he signed with Professional Fighters League.
The former UFC heavyweight champion took to YouTube to go over some of the details of his deal, which was initially announced early Tuesday morning. While Ngannou isn’t expected to fight for PFL until 2024, one of the most interesting aspects of the contract was the money it appears to have secured for his first opponent.
“This is the best business decision that I have ever done,” Ngannou said in the video. “At the beginning of my free agency I didn’t know that I could have a deal structure where I could have all this in one deal. I have myself a good guarantee, which is more important. And most importantly, I was even able to have a guarantee of $2 million for my opponent, [so] whomever I’m going to fight next is going to make money too.”
As previously reported, Ngannou will compete in PFL’s pay-per-view superfight division, which is expected to pay fighters a 50% revenue share from those events. He’ll also be chairman of the forthcoming PFL Africa and serve on an advisory board representing fighter interests.
“I have a seat at the table of the fighter advisory board, the first active fighter to be sitting at this board. I take this matter very serious,” Ngannou said. “ This will mainly be a board that will be advocating for the benefit of the sport and the fighter, not for the promotion. There’s always two parties on the table, and most of the time we forget the other party, which is most important: fighters.”
Additionally, Ngannou said that he will be able to secure his own sponsors, and he will be given the freedom to pursue fights in professional boxing without PFL interfering.
“This deal is exclusive MMA, not combat sports,” he said. “Since PFL doesn’t do boxing, [it] shouldn’t be included in boxing. I can do boxing separately, whenever I want, if ever I want. They are going to step out of my way and support me to do my boxing. That’s one of my biggest dreams to do boxing matches.”
In addition to the PFL, Ngannou reportedly had discussions with Bellator, One Championship and BKFC during his free agency. According to “The Predator,” no organization came close to matching all the terms presented by the PFL.
“A deal like this, I couldn’t have it, not anywhere close. Nobody has something close like this,” he said. “The good thing is that I’m joining them on a goal that they have. Our needs align together, and it was a perfect fit. It was the best professional decision that I have ever made. It was the best business decision that I have ever made.
“I appreciate your concern, I appreciate your worries about me. But man, believe me, I’m doing great,” he added. “With all due respect to all the other promotions, nobody could really get anywhere close to this point. All the stuff that mattered to me, nobody really cared about it. Everybody just wants to get a fight out of you and shake hands, goodbye. Which is something I don’t have here. No matter what other promoters say, no matter what some fighters say, no matter what some media say, who do you think is the baddest motherf—-er on the planet? Me.”
Ngannou’s decision to sign with PFL was celebrated by those throughout the league, including CEO Peter Murray.
“The PFL is excited to announce its groundbreaking strategic partnership with Francis Ngannou, the greatest heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. Ngannou will anchor the PFL’s star-studded PPV superfight division, serve on PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Board, and will be chairman and an equity owner in PFL Africa,” Murray said in a release. “Beyond working with Francis to advance the sport of MMA and scale PFL globally, I’m personally looking forward to supporting Francis in his commitment to fight for communities in Africa and around the world, inspired by his vision for the Francis Ngannou Foundation.”
The addition of Ngannou will also help spearhead PFL’s expansion into more international markets, according to founder and chairman Donn Davis.
“PFL has an expansive plan to become the first true global league in sports, with international regional leagues spanning all continents,” Davis said. “PFL Europe’s launch in 2023 has been a huge success, and we will have six more PFL international leagues operating by 2026 to form the first ever ‘Champions League of MMA’ to spark national pride and determine the actual best in the world via the PFL sport-season format of ‘win and advance’ meritocracy.”
Boxer and social media personality Jake Paul, who is also signed to PFL’s pay-per-view superfight division, welcomed Ngannou to the league with open arms in a video statement on Tuesday.
“Francis, welcome to the PFL,” Paul said. “Everybody, it is official. This is massive, massive, massive, massive news in MMA. We have some huge fights on the horizon. Congratulations, Francis, you deserve this. The best heavyweight in the f—ing world to the PFL, and PFL Africa is going to be massive. So excited. Let’s go.”
The baddest man in the planet has officially joined. pic.twitter.com/nfQlh9R4ru— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) May 16, 2023
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