Francis Ngannou Signs with Professional Fighters League

After months of speculation, MMA’s biggest free agent has landed.

Professional Fighters League (PFL) announced on Tuesday that former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has signed a mixed martial arts deal to fight in its Superfight Division. The news was first reported by the New York Times.

PFL’s Superfight Division, which also includes celebrity boxer Jake Paul, will pay its fighters a 50% share of revenue generated by their fights. According to the NYT article, Ngannou will not fight for the organization until 2024 because it is expected that he will first compete in a boxing match this year. It is yet to be determined whether his opponent will be Tyson Fury, who has publicly embraced the idea of a bout with the former UFC champ, or someone else. Full terms of the deal have not been disclosed but Ngannou stated, “Let’s just say, all-in my deal with PFL is more than anyone else offered.” In addition to his pay, Ngannou will also become chairman of PFL Africa and serve on the advisory board representing fighter interests, according to the New York Times article.

Ngannou (17-3) made headlines last year when he left the UFC as a sitting heavyweight champion after he and the promotion failed to come to terms after months of negotiations. The 36-year-old Cameroonian-born Frenchman last fought on Jan. 22, 2022, unifying his lineal UFC belt against interim champ Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision at UFC 270. His negotiations with the UFC, and then with virtually every other major mixed martial arts outfit, have been among the biggest stories in MMA over the past year, as rumors flew of his impending signing with organizations such as PFL, Bellator MMA and One Championship.

“The past few months have been a very interesting time to understand and see the landscape but I’m very excited about this deal with the PFL because they basically showed what I was expecting,” Ngannou told the New York Times. “They didn’t just show up as a promotion that was looking for a fighter, but really came as a partner that sees more value in you as a person.”

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