When Francis Ngannou had his hand raised after winning the first decision of his career in the UFC 270 main event, the heavyweight title was wrapped back around his waist – except UFC President Dana White was nowhere to be found.
Instead, UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard put the title on Ngannou before he gave his post-fight interview to Joe Rogan in the cage. White had previously handed the flyweight title to Deiveson Figueiredo following his win over Brandon Moreno, but he was conspicuous by his absence while Ngannou was celebrating the win over Ciryl Gane on Saturday night.
“I don’t know. You have to ask him,” Ngannou said when asked why White didn’t stick around to put the belt around his waist. “No, I did not have anything to do about that. I think that was their decision. I’m about to ask about that, too.”
Of course, Ngannou has been engaged in a very public battle with the UFC over his contract after failing to come to terms with the promotion on a new deal prior to Saturday night. Ngannou actually fought out his current contract with the win over Gane, although the exact terms of when he could be considered a free agent is still unknown due to a “champion’s clause” that the UFC typically retains on anyone holding a belt in the promotion.
In addition to White not appearing in the cage to give Ngannou his belt, the UFC president was also missing in action at the post-fight press conference as well. White is a consistent presence at the post-fight press conferences, especially following a UFC pay-per-view like the one that took place in Anaheim this weekend.
“Wow, OK, I didn’t know that, too,” Ngannou said after he was told about White skipping the press conference.
Prior to his fight, Ngannou couldn’t give any kind of prediction about his future and that hadn’t changed much just because he was victorious in the UFC 270 main event.
Ngannou’s agent Marquel Martin, who works for Creative Artists Agency (CAA) — a talent agency that’s also a well-known rival to the UFC owners at Endeavor — had previously revealed that it had been several months since he had spoken to anybody at the promotion about working on a new deal for the heavyweight champion.