Joe Rogan Reacts to Francis Ngannou’s Exit From UFC: ‘I’m Mad’

UFC, Joe Rogan

Getty Joe Rogan looks on.

UFC color commentator Joe Rogan gave his take on the departure of Francis Ngannou from the organization.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou was last seen in action against former interim titleholder Ciryl Gane in Jan. 2022 at UFC 270. ‘The Predator’ went into the bout with a severely compromised knee but managed to power through the challenge with a stellar grappling-based gameplan opposite the striking maestro.

During the post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 67, company president Dana White announced that the promotion decided to part ways with Ngannou after almost two years of negotiations that went nowhere.

In episode 134 of the JRE MMA Show (under “Joe Rogan Experience”), Rogan shared his thoughts on Ngannou’s exit from the promotion. He expressed his frustrations about the loss of Ngannou’s targeted clash with former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, widely regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

“That’s why I’m mad,” said Rogan. “I’m mad because I feel like we were deprived of one of the great fights in MMA, one of the most compelling fights in MMA.”

With Ngannou out of the way, Jones is scheduled to take on Gane for the vacant heavyweight title in the headlining bout of UFC 285 on Mar. 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Ciryl Gane and Jon Jones,” Rogan added. “I’m very interested in that fight.”

White Suggested Ngannou Wanted Easier Match-Ups

UFC head honcho White opened up on the sort of offer that was on the table for Ngannou. He claimed that ‘The Predator’ did not sign a new deal with the company as he was looking for a way out of fighting elite competition.

“We offered Francis a deal that would have made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the company,” White said (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “More than [Brock] Lesnar, more than anybody, and he turned the deal down. We get to this point where I’ve told you guys before, if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be here.

“I think Francis is in a place right now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risk. [He] feels he’s in a good position where he could fight lesser opponents and make more money. So we’re going to let him do that.”

Ngannou Responded to White’s Comments

The 36-year-old Cameroonian disputed White’s claims in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel this past Wednesday.

“They have also said that I’m scared of fighting Jon Jones or somebody else, which I don’t know where they came from with that one,” Ngannou said (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “That sounds very ridiculous, in my opinion, with all due respect. Because I’ve been calling for this fight for over two years. I’ve been waiting for this fight forever.”

He recounted his experience competing with top-ranked opponents such as Gane to support his rebuttal and highlighted the real issue he faced when negotiating for a new contract with the promotion.

“And I’ve been fighting guys even with one knee, with injury. And now, why do I be scared of them? While I feel even more confident? No, I’m not scared. The only thing that I’m scared of is to be trapped. Is not to lose my freedom, which I value very much. You guys know how the UFC contract can be: restrictive.

“As an independent contractor, you don’t really have a say in that contract. You don’t even have a right, so, I can’t do that.”

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