Francis Ngannou Says the UFC Is Threatening to Sue His Team

Francis Ngannou & Dana White

Getty Francis Ngannou & Dana White

According to UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the UFC is threatening to sue his team for talking with Jake Paul’s manager and business partner, Nakisa Bidarian.

Bidarian is the former chief financial officer of the UFC, and he was a part of the promotion’s sale to WME-IMG, known now as Endeavor, back in 2016 for $4.025 billion.

Ngannou defended his title against then-interim champion Ciryl Gane during last weekend’s UFC 270 main event. “The Predator” has been very vocal about his displeasure with the promotion, citing his pay, the restrictions on his contract and the way he’s been treated by the UFC.

Ngannou told the media during the UFC 270 post-fight press conference that if he chooses to sit out for a year, he’ll be a free agent. And that’s something he’s willing to do if he can’t find common ground with the promotion and UFC president Dana White.

On Monday, January 24, 2022, while speaking with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour,” Ngannou said that his team received an email hours before his fight with Gane that stated that the UFC was going to sue them for speaking with Bidarian.

He told Helwani: “Going into the arena, I dressed up. I put my suit [on] and I walk to the room waiting for my manager and my coach. And they were like, ‘Wow.’ And I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ They told me they just received an email from the UFC that said they’re going to sue him for talking with this guy, [Nakisa Bidarian]. And I’m like, ‘Who is Nakisa?’ They [were] telling me I don’t know him pretty much, but he’s somebody from Jake Paul’s team. And now I’m like, ‘Is he a promoter or something?’ And they’re like, ‘No.’

You can watch the clip from the interview below via the embedded tweet.

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Josh Gross Says There Is a ‘Proxy War’ Going on That Ngannou Is Involved In

Reacting to Ngannou’s claim, Sherdog’s editor Josh Gross tweeted that Ngannou is caught in a “proxy war” between WME-IMG and Ngannou’s management, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which is an industry rival. “WME vs. CAA proxy war,” Gross tweeted.”If you don’t factor this in to the way Dana White is acting towards Francis Ngannou, you’re missing a big piece. UFC has always tried to kneecap heavyweight champs with management that push the boundaries, and this time it’s personal.”

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White Wasn’t Present to Award Ngannou the Belt, Doesn’t Like Bidarian

Another important note is that after Ngannou was declared the winner at UFC 270, the UFC’s president didn’t wrap the belt around The Predator’s waist. White wasn’t in the Octagon and he didn’t attend the post-fight presser either. In the fight prior, White presented the belt to the flyweight title winner Deiveson Figueiredo inside the cage. There has been no word from White or the UFC on why that’s the case.

White has also made it clear that he doesn’t like Paul’s manager. He has called Bidarian “The Warlock” and has underplayed Bidarian’s prior role with the UFC, saying that he was “an accountant.”

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