ONE Championship has decided not to negotiate a deal with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou. Free agent Ngannou was in discussions with ONE Championship, but CEO Chatri Sityodtong said after a three-hour meeting in Los Angeles, he no longer will pursue Ngannou.
ONE Championship will not submit an offer for Francis Ngannou
“I met with Francis yesterday for almost three hours,” Sityodtong told the South China Morning Post via text message Monday. “ONE has decided to withdraw from the process of bidding for Francis Ngannou’s services. After careful reflection, we decided not to submit our final offer. Francis is a good guy and a good champion. I wish him continued success and happiness.”
Ngannou had become a free agent when he decided to fight out his contract as UFC heavyweight champion. He reportedly turned down an offer that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in UFC history. Ngannou (17-3) parted ways with the UFC as the undisputed heavyweight champion, entering free agency having an impressive six-fight winning streak that included former UFC titleholders Ciryl Gane, Stipe Miocic, Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.
Sityodtong seemingly respects that Ngannou’s desires go beyond money, but stated that he couldn’t come to an agreement with him.
“At the end of the day, I didn’t feel Francis and I were fully aligned on non-financial matters,” Sityodtong added. “It is nothing personal. It is just a lack of alignment.”
Some of the biggest combat sports organizations, such as Bellator, PFL and BKFC, have expressed interest in signing Ngannou. However, a deal is yet to be reached. BKFC president David Feldman said Ngannou was asking for “unrealistic money,” and that the promotion is not willing to pay that kind of money for him.