One of the most prominent MMA managers in the world, Ali Abdelaziz, believes the UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is doing the right thing by standing up for what he wants.
“If anybody deserves to be paid, it’s Francis,” Abdelaziz recently told MMA Junkie. “You look at the story, the guy come from Cameroon, went to Moracco, got on a plastic boat to Europe – the man has a strong will.”
“The man has a strong will, but Dana White been waiting 20 years for someone like Francis to arrive, to be on the scene, to become the baddest heavyweight on the planet. This whole narrative that Dana White doesn’t like Francis, I think is wrong. It’s almost impossible not to like Francis. He puts on great shows. He’s a great human being and I think it’s a lot of ego involved.”
“Francis said it’s not about the money, it’s about freedom,” Abdelaziz said.
“Francis wants to box, right? That’s his dream. I think Dana White could make his dream come true because he’s the baddest promoter on this planet. If you want to promote a fight against Tyson Fury, he’s an ESPN guy, Dana’s an ESPN guy, you bring both of them and make this fight happen. I think they need to kill all the noise, stop talking to the media, stop tweeting stuff, stop putting stuff on Instagram. Both sides.”
Negotiations could go on for the foreseeable future, considering Ngannou will soon undergo surgery to repair the injured knee he fought with at UFC 270.
“Francis probably left in the last two fights $12 million on the table,” Abdelaziz said. “This is a courageous man. How you not gonna respect this man and this man come from nothing? Do I think it was the smartest thing to do? Absolutely not. I don’t think you should leave this kind of money on the table, but his main thing is he wanted to box. I think Dana White will let him box, but it has to be, ‘I’m gonna be a team player here, we’re gonna work together.’”