Dana White Explains Failure To Put Belt On Francis Ngannou: ‘There Was Stuff Going On Backstage’

    ByRoss Markey

    Jan 27, 2022

    UFC president, Dana White has explained why he was not present Octagon-side during last weekend’s UFC 270 main event between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane – claiming that an incident backstage at the Honda Center prevented him from appearing, or strapping Ngannou with the championship belt.

    White, who received mass criticism for his apparent refusal to put the championship belt round the waist of Ngannou following the Batie native’s successful title unification win over Gane at UFC 270, also failed to appear at the post-fight press conference. 

    The longtime promotional president was notably present Octagon-side for the event’s co-headliner between flyweight duo, Brandon Moreno, and Deiveson Figueiredo – placing the title on Figueiredo following his unanimous decision victory.

    However, following Ngannou’s unanimous judging win over Gane, White, who almost exclusively straps UFC titles round the waist’s of champions, saw that role taken by promotional matchmaker, Mick Maynard at the culmination of the main event.

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    Addressing his absence during a live Q&A with Laura Sanko on ESPN+, White chalked his absence up to a backstage incident.

    “Let’s jump on this one,” Dana White said. “If nobody asked it – I know they’re dying to ask it, is that I wasn’t out there for the main event. I actually was in the arena right after the co-main event, because there was stuff going on backstage that I was dealing with. But, you know, for anybody to think I was showing any type of disrespect toward Francis (Ngannou) – I saw Francis all week, you idiots. I shook his hand, I said ‘Hi’ to him, you know. I was out there for the (weigh-in) staredowns, the whole thing.”

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    Tensions between White, Ngannou, the UFC, and the Cameroon native’s management firm, CAA, and agent, Marquel Martin are close to boiling-point it appears – with the champion completing his eight-fight contractual obligations with the organization at UFC 270.

    Potentially subject to a ‘champions clause’, which would tie him to the organization for the period of a year, or for three further fights, it is currently unknown if a ‘sunset clause’ in Ngannou’s contract, which would see his contract lapse entirely in January 2023 would supersede other clauses in his deal. 

    Before last Saturday’s title showdown with Gane, Ngannou confirmed that he would no longer compete for the UFC whilst receiving fight purses of $500,000 or $600,000. And per the California State Athletic Commission, the undisputed champion received a disclosed fight purse of $600,000 for his efforts against Gane.

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