Controversy rages in the UFC between the company’s president Dana White and its heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou after the UFC went ahead with its surprising plan to crown an interim champ just three months after Ngannou picked up the title belt at UFC 260.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, both Ngannou and the champ’s agent Marquel Martin were “shocked” about the UFC’s decision to book Derrick Lewis vs. Cyril Gane for interim gold at UFC 265 on August 7.
“This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. Francis is just now returning to the States to begin training, and he just won the title three months ago. We’re unsure of what the reasoning is behind this, but we hope to get clarity soon and figure out something with the UFC soon. At the end of the day, they’re in control of these decisions,” Martin said per ESPN.
But White vehemently and publicly disagreed with Martin. He posted a comment on Okamoto’s Instagram post on Tuesday night blasting the agent for being “incompetent”.
He said, “This dude is SO FULL OF S***!!! He knows EXACTLY what’s going on and isn’t ‘shocked’ at all. Because we told him several times this was coming. His management is incompetent and hopefully Francis starts taking a look at new people to help his career…”.
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Ngannou’s Agent Blasted Back With Threat of Releasing Info
The comments section blew up from there with Ngannou, Martin, and many UFC fans offering their thoughts, feelings and opinions about the UFC’s latest plan in the heavyweight division.
But Martin upped the ante by threatening to release “emails, calls, and texts” that would get him “blackballed” by the UFC, presumed because they would paint the company and its reps in an unfavorable light.
He posted, “@danawhite lol…complete shock with your decision after we said September was good for us? Complete shock that you guys made threats after less than 3 months after you all were aware. Complete shock after You KNEW why Francis needed more time. That is correct. I know you’re passionate but you trying to discredit my integrity when I’ve been nothing but respectful to you, Hunter, and your entire staff? Speaks more about you than it does me. I’m not even mad, I’m actually impressed that I’ve gotten your attention. Incompetent management?? I think we’ve done a damn good job…I think you REALLY don’t like the fact that Francis is being represented by not only me but an entire agency…one of which you can’t control. Hence why you have people trying to rep him all the time to your benefit…I tell you what, let’s disclose EVERYTHING for people to see. Emails, calls, texts, everything. Deal?? Cuz I’m ready to get blackballed by UFC…I’m not defined by it, you or anyone else for that matter. How’s that sound. Sincerely, your old employee – Marquel Martin”.
Martin also offered a separate take on the matter on a prior post on Okamoto’s Instagram page.
He posted, “I’ll leave judgment to the fans, they’re smart. My respect to Gane and Lewis…We will handle things with respect as always…”.
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Most Fans and Media Seem To Be Leaning Ngannou’s Way
To that end, the majority of fans and media on social media appear to be in Ngannou’s corner. After all, Ngannou just won the belt three months ago, and it seems a little fast to rush him back inside the Octagon.
Regardless, UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane is set for August 7 in Houston, Texas.
Former title challenger Lewis stopped Curtis Blaydes in his last fight in the second round in February to earn the nod, and Gane got his spot by winning a unanimous decision over Alexander Volkov over the weekend to remain undefeated.
Now, the two stars meet for the UFC’s interim heavyweight championship, with an increasingly angry Ngannou waiting on deck to face the winner for undisputed status.
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