Ciryl Gane on Francis Ngannou’s Snub at UFC 268: ‘That’s a Little Bit of a Shame’

Nov 24, 2021

The upcoming UFC 270 is headlined by the heavyweight championship clash between former training partners Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou, who used to spar together at MMA Factory in Paris before Ngannou relocated his training to the United States in 2018. In the meantime, both men captured the UFC heavyweight belt in dominant performances as Ngannou put Stipe Miocic away with his knockout power at UFC 260, and Gane became the interim titleholder after stopping Derrick Lewis with punches at UFC 265. The pair crossed paths backstage at UFC 268 earlier this month. At that time, “The Predator” passed by Gane, MMA Factory head coach Fernand Lopez and Nassourdine Imavov, another former teammate who had won his fight earlier that night, without greeting or even acknowledgement.

“There is a little history more with Lopez [than with me],” Gane said of the snub. “They did five years together, he brought Ngannou in the UFC, and there are some other stories. I don’t know why he [made] this choice, but, for me, it’s wrong. It’s no good to do that. You must have respect, even if you have a problem with a person. Don’t do that. That’s not the belief, that’s not kind. For me, the most shameful was with Nassourdine Imavov. He’s out of these stories. Maybe, he’s the first guy helping Ngannou in all of his career and this is a little bit of a shame. He just won his fight, just give a high five or something like that, just say, ‘Congratulations.’”

Gane denies there is any bad blood between him and Ngannou. However, he didn’t appreciate his opponent’s gesture, which he felt very disrespectful towards his former training camp partners.

“I was a little bit surprised, and after [what happened], I was disappointed,” he said. “For me, that’s not correct. If you ask children if this is right or wrong, they will say it’s wrong. It’s no good. When you cross people like that with your former coach who did everything for you, everything to bring you to the top, with also Imavov, who took all the time for you, me a little bit, not too much but a little bit, so that’s a little bit of a shame.”

Gane also gave his opining with Ngannou training with Glory Kickboxing champ Rico Verhoeven, about his willingness to fight in Paris, and expressed his wish to test himself in boxing one day.

Tudor Leonte started writing about mixed martial arts in 2013 for Italian media outlets. His journey with Sherdog began in 2018 and he now covers One Championship and countless European shows. You can follow him on Twitter @MrTudorLeonte.

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