ONE Championship abruptly ends Francis Ngannou negotiations

one championship, francis ngannou
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of their debut event in the United States this Friday, ONE Championship reportedly has passed on offering a contract to former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou.

Francis Ngannou is one of, if not the biggest free agent in combat sports currently. After defending his championship successfully in January 2022, the 36-year-old took off the rest of the year to rehabilitate his surgically repaired knee and try and hammer out a new long-term contract with the organization.

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Unfortunately, the two sides could never agree to a new deal and the UFC decided to end negotiations and release their heavyweight champion from his contract. After being cut, it seemed like anything was possible for Ngannou next, including potential matchups in boxing against superstars like Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. However, that has yet to materialize as his asking price continues to be too high for most fight promotions.

ONE Championship makes a decision on Francis Ngannou

Well, you can now add Asian combat sports powerhouse ONE Championship to that list. Last week, ONE boss Chatri Sityodtong revealed plans to talk to the heavyweight superstar ahead of their US event in Colorado this week. The talks have reportedly occurred and nothing will be coming of it.

one championship, francis ngannou
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday morning, Sityodtong informed South China Morning Post about the fallout from the meeting with Francis Ngannou and ONE Championship’s decision going forward.

“I met with Francis yesterday for almost 3 hours. ONE has decided to withdraw from the process of bidding for Francis Ngannou’s services.”

– Chatri Sityodtong

The news isn’t necessarily surprising since the UFC veteran’s asking price was likely always going to be more than the promotion usually spends for free-agent talent, but is still a shot to his leverage as he remains a free agent and without viable options over three months after being cut by his former employer.

It will be interesting to see where the former UFC champ goes next with ONE Championship officially out of the picture, for now.

After earning his journalism degree in 2017, Jason Burgos served as a contributor to several sites, including MMA Sucka... More about Jason Burgos

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