Usually, it’s tradition for the UFC president Dana White to wrap the belt around the victor in a UFC title fight, however the boss was nowhere to be found after Francis Ngannou successfully defended his crown at UFC 270.
UFC heavyweight champion, Ngannou defeated Gane by unanimous decision over five rounds, implementing a heavy wrestling style to triumph over the Frenchman to retain his title on Saturday night.
In the post-fight press conference, Ngannou was cheery in victory yet was puzzled when asked whether he had any contribution in White’s absence.
“I don’t know. You have to ask him,” Ngannou said when asked why White didn’t stick around to put the belt around his waist. “No, I did not have anything to do about that. I think that was their decision. I’m about to ask about that, too.”
White was nowhere to be seen as the bout ended, instead UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard wrapped the belt around the champion before conducting his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. The UFC president was present in the fight preceding the heavyweight title bout as he put the UFC flyweight belt around Deiveson Figueiredo yet was missing when Ngannouwon.
As well as not appearing to wrap the belt, White was not present at the post-fight press conference which was unusual to say the least which left Ngannou surprised when prompted.
“Wow, OK, I didn’t know that, too,” Ngannou said after he was told about White skipping the press conference.
Before UFC 270, the relationship between the UFC and Ngannou had been icy as the two could not come to terms over obtaining a new deal on the champion’s contract. The very public feud had been ongoing for a couple of months as Ngannou has made it clear that he believes he should be earning more for the guaranteed pay in title bouts.
On Saturday night, he earned a guaranteed pay of $600,000 for defending his title against Ciryl Gane. The bout was also Ngannou’s last fight on his current contract which throws into question what may be next for the Cameroon fighter who has teased a move to boxing against the likes of Tyson Fury in the past.
“It’s been a long time I’ve been wondering about my future in the company,” Ngannou said. “So, nothing has changed. I’m still in the same position…I’ve been going to the UFC a lot so I’d kind of like exhausted all my options.”
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