MMA fighting

Chael Sonnen: Francis Ngannou ‘stupid’ to hold out for a year with no fight guarantee against Tyson Fury

Chael Sonnen questions the wisdom of Francis Ngannou and his team.

In the main event of UFC 270 on Saturday, Ngannou won a unanimous decision over Ciryl Gane to record the first successful defense of his heavyweight championship, but the drama in the octagon was arguably overshadowed by negotiations. of contract surrounding the fight.

Ngannou has spoken publicly about wanting a new contract with the UFC that will not only allow him to receive greater compensation, but allow him to pursue boxing opportunities outside of the promotion. That conversation continued at Saturday’s post-fight press conference, where Ngannou continued to comment on his uncertainty surrounding his future with the UFC.

Sonnen addressed the situation in a live stream after the event, and while he’s impressed with how Ngannou fared, he’s not convinced the heavyweight star has the best plan. action.

“I’ve found [the post-fight comments] to be powerful, because I don’t think he’s bluffing anymore,” Sonnen said. “I think Francis is getting bad advice. Wherever Francis thinks the world wants him to go fight Tyson Fury, I don’t know who put that in his mind. But it’s Francis’ dream, and I’d go too far trying to take it away from him. If you’ve got a promoter out there that’s willing to lose a ton of money and wants to throw it at this game – and how they’re going to wrap it up and how they’re going to sell, I really have no idea the foggiest – but if they want to, that’s their business, not ours.

“It would seem a very risky thing, and even a silly thing, to hold on for [a Fury fight] when you don’t know you have a bird in your hand. Francois being active [in the UFC] is looking at between six and nine million dollars this year. So his opportunity cost just to wait until December for a fight he doesn’t have is the best part of your career earnings. It’s his decision.

Ngannou and heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury have clashed several times on social media, and they exchanged more comments via Twitter following Ngannou’s victory at UFC 270. Sonnen wonders if Fury or promoter Eddie Hearn are seriously considering committing themselves financially to this game.

Specifically, Sonnen envisions December, when Ngannou could potentially become a free agent without fighting in the UFC again, and whether his name will still hold the same value without the promotion attached to his name.

“If December comes next year and Francis hasn’t been seen, and Francis is no longer the undisputed champion and he no longer has the power of the organization behind him, the [likeliness] of a payday in boxing with Fury is shrinking exponentially,” Sonnen said. “It’s always hard to see.”

When it comes to Ngannou’s public handling of the negotiations, however, Sonnen has no problem.

“Whether you like Francis being in this position of digging in and wanting to change his contract or not, you have to admit that Francis did nothing wrong,” Sonnen said. “And there are a lot of words you could use, some of them could even be synonymous, but mutually exclusive will be, ‘Has he done wrong?’ No he didn’t. You could say you were annoyed, you could say you were disappointed – you can’t argue with a guy who does it honestly, and the only reason we know where Francis is at is that. is that he told everyone.

“Anyone who deals with him, he’s certainly said, ‘This is where I am, and whatever happens to me after that will be your decision, but here’s where I am. OK, he didn’t do anything wrong, he didn’t, so how do you see that and what are you going to predict will happen? »

Sonnen was critical of Ngannou’s in-cage performance against Gane, going so far as to say he felt the judges should have scored the fight for Gane. He feels the same way about the co-main event, which saw Deiveson Figueiredo reclaim the flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Brandon Moreno, and slammed the four headliners for what he considered a bad move. promotional work for UFC 270.

If Ngannou sticks around, Sonnen thinks he should wisely take some time off to heal a knee injury and potentially avoid a fight with Jon Jones.

“I believe that this story [about Ngannou’s injury] was planted for a reason,” Sonnen said. “The reason is to take a break. Take your oars out of the water. When you’re a boxer, just like you, you don’t want a break. You like to use the word vacation, but the truth is, you have to get paid. You want to go to work. Let’s get it over with now, get a lot closer to retirement and not come back here – in all honesty, a boxer works the same unless he’s calculated.

“The only hope we have for the fans based on what we saw tonight, based on the disappointment that these two [title fights] pulled is if Francis pulls out his oars to starve Jon, which will happen at some point, and get Stipe [Miocic] in there with [Jones]. Stipe is the only one who can beat Jon Jones. I don’t know if Stipe would be – it’s between these boys – [but] he is the only one who could. Because it’s not too big, it’s not too slow. If he falls, he’s not going to stay there like a turtle because he’s pushing the better part of 300 than he has 200. He’s badass, he can wrestle, he ticks a lot of boxes… but one thing, and Daniel [Cormier] could be guilty of that too, but by Monday’s media cycle, Jon is going to get his balls back that he lost.