Hours Before Title Defense, Francis Ngannou Said UFC Threatened To Sue His Agent
Just hours before his first title defense at UFC 270, Francis Ngannou said his agent received a threat from the UFC.
Ngannou revealed that the promotion threatened to sue his agent Marquel Martin, of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Sports, for talking with Jake Paul’s business partner, Nakisa Bidarian, about a potential boxing match, while still under UFC contract.
“I walked into the room waiting for my manager, my coach,” Ngannou said on “The MMA Hour.”
“And they were like, ‘Wow.’ I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ They told me they just received an email from the UFC saying they’re going to sue [Martin] for talking with this guy, Nakisa. Yeah. I’m like, ‘Who is Nakisa?'”
Bidarian is the former UFC chief financial officer who now serves as an adviser to Paul and the co-founder of Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions company.
Ngannou refuted and said that he talks about boxing with a lot of people, but wouldn’t recognize Bidarian “if you put him in front of me.”
A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed with ESPN the timing and contents of the email.
Boxing has been on Ngannou’s mind as of late, which is one of the various reasons the undisputed heavyweight champion has been at a standstill with the UFC on a new contract.
Weeks prior to UFC 270, the Cameroonian fighter made it clear that he wants an option to box included in his new deal with the UFC.
His appearance against Gane was his eighth appearance on an eight-fight deal, but since he won, he activated a champion’s clause, which keeps him under contract with the UFC for either three fights or one year.
But aside from the terms, Ngannou has repeatedly said he feels like the promotion hasn’t treated him well. It was subtly evident when UFC President Dana White was absent from presenting the heavyweight title belt to Ngannou after his win, and when White was missing from the post-fight press conference.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been treated good,” Ngannou said during the UFC 270 post-fight press conference.
“It’s unfortunate that I have to be in this position, that I have to say that. I feel like everyone should have the right to claim for what’s best for them. At the end of the day, we put a lot of work for this job and we take a lot on our body to make it happen, so we can have a fair and square deal.”