Israel Adesanya holds the belief that Francis Ngannou's move to PFL will have a significant impact on other organizations.
Ngannou's departure from the UFC occurred due to his request for certain conditions that were not met in a new contract. PFL, however, granted Ngannou those specific demands, including equity ownership and a leadership position within the promotion, along with the freedom to pursue boxing opportunities.
Adesanya expresses genuine excitement for his close friend and fellow African fighter, acknowledging the positive aspects of Ngannou's new venture. However, Adesanya takes issue with the way ONE Championship depicted the negotiation process. CEO Chatri Sityodtong claimed that ONE had withdrawn from the bidding, but Ngannou later revealed that this statement was not accurate.
“Stoked,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “What I didn’t like, I’ll say, is f*cking what ONE did. Francis put it out to them first, ‘This is the offer I have on the table. Can you match this?’ They couldn’t match it and then they put out that statement saying, ‘We are withdrawing,’ and everyone tried to harp on about it. I just thought that was shady. They didn’t have to do that.”
Francis Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion, has not only joined PFL but also taken on the role of representing fighter interests on their advisory board. In his negotiations with PFL, Ngannou secured an undisclosed minimum purse for his own fights, ensuring a baseline level of compensation. Furthermore, he has ensured that his opponents will receive a minimum of $2 million for their bouts against him.
“This thing about his opponent is guaranteed a million, how many fighters are gonna be like, ‘Right, I need to get to the PFL. I wanna fight Francis,’ because now Francis is the guy, the money fight. That’s another twist on it that I like.”
Adesanya expects Ngannou’s new deal to affect the UFC in some shape or form – whether now or in the long run.
“I think the UFC, they’re not dumb,” Adesanya said. “They’ll take notice. They know how to adapt, and when something like this happens in another field, it creates a big ripple in the game, and a big enough ripple can force the UFC to change the way – even like a small change.”
“… This is a big f*cking move,” Adesanya continued. “It causes a ripple that forces change.”