UFC champ Ngannou reacts to snub from president (VIDEO)
French-Cameroonian powerhouse Ngannou entered his bout with unbeaten Gane as an underdog, only to surprise fans by showing his grappling and jiu-jitsu skills to beat his highly-rated opponent by foregoing some of his characteristic reliance on huge shots.
There was another surprise in store when UFC president Dana White, who usually enters the octagon to wrap champions' belts around their waists in the immediate aftermath of title fights, opted not to do so at UFC 270 in California.
Multi-millionaire businessman White has been embroiled in a public dispute with Ngannou, with the fighter wanting better pay and greater freedoms within his contract.
Ngannou earned a $600,000 purse that he is thought to not be entirely happy with for his win, and the 35-year-old is now understood to hold the aces in his deadlock with the UFC, which could see him wait out his deal and leave the promotion at the end of 2022.
"I did not have anything to do about that," smiled Ngannou, claiming he did not know that White had not appeared at the post-fight press conferences, nor why the promotion supremo had not presented him with his title.
"That was their decision – I'm about to ask about that too. It's been a long time that I have been wondering about my future in the company so nothing has changed, I'm still in the same position.
"It's not simply money. Obviously, money is a part of it but it is also the term of the contract.
"I don't feel like it's fair, I don't feel like I'm a free man. I don't feel like I have been treated good."
DANA WHITE IN THE MUD FRANCIS NGANNOU REMAINS THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION pic.twitter.com/dyL7tCC24J— liam 😈 (@xdliamm) January 23, 2022
UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard puts the belt on Francis Ngannou. No Dana White. #UFC270— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) January 23, 2022
Fighter pay has been a high-profile issue for the UFC. In the build-up to the fight, familiar White antagonist and rookie boxer Jake Paul again taunted the promoter over what he sees as the undervaluing of athletes who risk their lives.
"Give this man what he wants, Dana," said provocative YouTuber Paul, calling the UFC "such a f*cked up company to be a part of."
Speaking before the fight, White emphasized that Ngannou was not the favorite against Gane and told him to concentrate on the challenge ahead of him.
“You’re talking about you don’t want to fight under your contract, you’re talking about – he gets a piece of pay-per-view, whatever we sell, like all the other champions do,” White told the Jim Rome Show.
"He’s building a big house back in his home country in Africa. He’s building gyms for kids over there, he’s doing all these things.
"Ciryl Gane wants what this guy’s got. You got that guy that’s coming up and is hungry.
“Nobody has enough money. Nobody’s ever going to say, ‘Oh, they’re paying me way too much. I got too much money.’
"But this guy has made some real money and he’s out there spending it and doing his thing. Ciryl Gane wants that real money now.”
A bout with heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury is one of Ngannou's targets in the remainder of his storied career.
"It's unfortunate that I have to be in this position to do that, to say that," he said of the storm swirling around his stand-off with White, adding that he has "exhausted all my options" in negotiations.
"But I think it's something that everybody should at least have a right to claim for at least what's best for them.
"At the end of the day, we put a lot of work into this job, take a lot [to] our body to make it happen, so at least we [should] have a fair and square deal."
'The Predator' appeared to confirm that he might not fight for around a year. "I don't believe in anything," he said when asked about a potential move into boxing. "I don't know yet."