Francis Ngannou scored a unanimous decision win against Cyril Gane on Saturday night, defending his heavyweight title for the first time while headlining the UFC 270 pay-per-view event in Anaheim, California.
BoxingScene.com first revealed Saturday night that Ngannou made a minimum purse of $600,000 to fight the fellow Frenchman Gane, who made $500,000. The reported purses do not include any bonuses or pay-per-view points.
Hours after the fight, WBC champion Tyson Fury took to Twitter to salute Ngannou, while also taking a jab at him.
“Congratulations Francis Ngannou, but if you want to make some real money, come see the Gypsey King [money bag emoji,]” said Fury.
Earlier this month, Fury tweeted, “who would like to see me fight this beast [under] boxing rules” and tagged Ngannou and UFC president Dana White.
The 35-year-old Ngannou has been strongly pursuing a crossover career into boxing, especially as his contractual situation with the MMA company remains murky, and his purses nowhere near the stratosphere of Fury, who made close to $30 million in his trilogy fight against Deontay Wilder in October.
Ngannou’s fight against Gane was the last fight on his UFC deal. If Ngannou does not fight until January, he’ll be a free agent.
After the fight, White did not present the UFC belt to Ngannou in customary fashion, and the executive did not conduct a traditional post-fight press conference.
Ngannou was surprised with both developments.
“You have to ask [White] why that happened,” Ngannou said with a laugh. “I didn’t have anything to do with that. It’s been a long time I’ve been wondering about my future in the company. Nothing has changed. I’m still in the same position.”
Ngannou then immediately expanded on his contractual situation.
“It's not simply money. Obviously, money is a part of it. It's also the type of contract that I don't agree with. I don't feel like it's fair,” said Ngannou. “I don't feel like I'm a free man. I don't feel that I've been treated well. It's unfortunate that I have to be in this position to be able to say that. But I think it's at least something that everyone should have a right to claim for what's best for them.”
In an interview with ESPN earlier this month, when Ngannou was asked if he would keep fighting under the frameworks of his current deal, the heavyweight shot down the notion.
"No,'' said Ngannou. "I will not fight for $500,000 [or] $600,000 anymore. It's over. I took this fight [with Gane] for personal reasons, because I want to make sure that regardless of [whether] it's fair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights."
Ngannou told UFC commentator Joe Rogan during his post-fight interview in the cage that a crossover career into boxing is imminent.
“That option, boxing is always in the back of my pocket. It’s something I must do before the end of my career,” he said. “Right now, I’m really looking toward any opportunity to get that because, it’s not like I have a lifetime here. So, yeah, I better start thinking about it.”
Ngannou improved to 17-3 with his win against Gane, showing off impressing wrestling skills at length. The victory was the first via decision for the hard-hitting Ngannou.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.