Dana White breaks silence on Francis Ngannou PFL signing

UFC 282: Mitchell v Topuria
UFC 282: Mitchell v Topuria / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Dana White isn't impressed with the deal Francis Ngannou struck with the PFL.

On Saturday evening after the UFC Vegas 73 main event had concluded, UFC president Dana White spoke to the media.

One of the biggest topics of the night was White's thoughts on the announcement that Francis Ngannou had signed with the PFL. And he didn't hold back.

“Based on what I know about the deal, which is not much, it makes no sense to me. You’re going to pay a guy not to fight for a year, and it’s already been like [14] months. He’s fought three times in the last three years," White told FanSided MMA.

When the PFL news was announced it was revealed that Ngannou wouldn't debut until 2024 and would appear on the super fight series, versus an opponent to be determined.

“It’s just not what we do here. It’s not what we do. And the day that we released him, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Francis wants to take zero risks, doesn’t want to take any chances, and he obviously didn’t want to take a chance with Jon Jones — and after we saw what happened with Ciryl Gane, I don’t blame him. I think the outcome would’ve been exactly the same, and I’m sure most of you do and I’m sure Francis does too.”

Jones and Ngannou had a brief back and forth on social media when the news broke, but now that they are in different promotions, nothing will come of it.

Another element of Ngannou's contract was his desire to try boxing. White doesn't that's the best idea for him.

Dana White doesn't think Francis Ngannou should be boxing

“PFL is going to pay this guy to train for a boxing match that may not even happen and that they might not even be involved in. How does that make any sense?” White said. “It doesn’t make sense to me. Anthony Joshua called it a gimmick fight this week. When asked about that fight, he’s like, ‘I’m focused on fighting the best guys in the world. I’m not interested in a gimmick fight right now.’ And that’s one of the big problems with boxing right now, is it’s all about these gimmicky type fights, and that’s just not what I do here. It’s not what I do.

“Francis could’ve done a deal here. Hunter [Campbell] threw the kitchen sink at that guy. Hunter went to more dinners with Francis Ngannou and did everything in his power to try to get this fight done, and Francis just thinks that he’s in a position where he’s got some Conor McGregor [vs. Floyd] Mayweather fight on his hands, which, he does not. That fight was a once-in-a-lifetime type deal — a fight that I wasn’t very interested in, but at the end of the day it became so big, the right guys, the right time, the right place, the fans wanted it, so we did it and we got it done. MMA guys versus boxers doesn’t make any sense to me, but I know that he thinks there’s all this money in it. I disagree.”

White also touched on the rumors that the PFL was looking to buy Bellator.

“What they’re doing makes no sense to me, their business strategy,” White said. “I’m hearing that they’re raising money right now — $283 million, $300 million, I don’t know what the number is — from the Middle East, and I’ve done a lot of business in the Middle East. Those guys are sharp. Who in the hell would give them $280 million, because I’m hearing they’re buying Bellator, right? So you’re an organization that’s burning cash, have no ratings and selling no tickets, and you’re going to raise $280 million to buy a company that’s burning cash, sells no tickets, and does no ratings? It sounds absolutely f****** genius to me.

Needless to say, White wasn't that impressed.

“I know how this story ends. I get what Francis is doing. I wish the PFL all the luck in the world. I wish him all the luck in the world. It’s just not what we do here.”