Coach Fernand Lopez Claims Francis Ngannou Refused To Pay Gym Membership
Fernand Lopez has revealed that he had to let UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou go after he refused to pay the membership fee for the gym.
Lopez, 42, is the owner of the MMA Factory gym and former trainer of the Predator. Lopez told MMA reporter Ariel Helwani that he trained Ngannou for free when he was not part of the UFC, but the fighter denied paying any money even after making it big in Dana White’s company.
“I mean, you must be crazy. You spent four years on your life, for free in my gym,” the 42-year-old veteran trainer said on The MMA Hour.
“I never asked you for anything, any penny. And now that you’re not poor anymore, and I keep bringing poor guy in my gym, there’s around 40 guy homeless in my gym, poor people that I’m taking care of them.”
He told Helwani that the annual fee amounts to €600, but Ngannou, who is making six figures for every fight in the UFC, doesn’t want to pay.
“And I said,’ Okay, you become a successful man, you have money, you pay me 10 percent. On top of the 10 percent, you ask me to pay the sparring partner with that money that you give me,” Lopez added. “On top of that, you’re saying that that will be shame to know that a big man like you is paying the membership.’”
The coach claimed that Ngannou said his antics in the UFC were bringing the gym into spotlight, hence, paying a membership fee on top of it did not feel right to the heavyweight champ.
Ciryl Gane, the interim champ who is now a major threat to Ngannou’s heavyweight title, has been training under Lopez for a while.
In a video circulating on social media, Ngannou can be seen walking past his former team without greeting them on backstage for UFC 268.
— Jason Williams (@jasoneg33) November 7, 2021
Gane and Ngannou will fight on January 22 (Saturday) with the heavyweight title on the line.