Francis Ngannou, the icon of MMA and current heavyweight champion, has signed a strategic partnership with PFL that gives him equity and leadership roles in the promotion. The four-month long speculation over his next move after he relinquished the UFC heavyweight title in January is now over.
The deal is more than just an athlete contract; it encompasses so much more for both parties involved. Not only will Ngannou get to pursue his longtime dream of professional boxing, he also becomes chairman of PFL Africa as the organization plans to expand to the continent soon. On top of this, Ngannou will have a role on their advisory board representing fighter interests—a first for any major promotion—and compete in their newly rebranded “superfight” division which puts fighters front and center with larger shares of profits from pay-per-view events. This all points towards an exciting future for both Francis and PFL alike.
Since becoming a free agent, there has been no shortage of suitors interested in securing his services; however none were able to match what PFL offered him which included health insurance coverage as well as representation during contract negotiations with other promotions—demands which UFC President Dana White deemed “a non starter” for them but proved crucial factors in Ngannou’s decision making process, ultimately leading him to accept this lucrative offer from PFL. Ngannou plans to debut for the promotion in mid 2024 after an expected boxing match to take place this year.
He leaves behind a storied career at UFC where he became one of their most marketable champions by defeating former trainee Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 last March, while overcoming a severe knee injury that required surgery afterwards. After unifying the heavyweight division under his rule, Ngannou relinquished it earlier this year due to contractual disagreements between himself and Dana White who later declared they would “never work together again.”Although, such bold statements may come back haunt Mr White if predictions prove correct regarding what lies ahead for The Predator at PFL, given how highly rated they already are amongst industry insiders.