Jake Paul and Anderson Silva weigh in for boxing fight
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Jake Paul has aimed a fresh dig at UFC boss Dana White after former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou turned his back on the leading promotion. Ngannou reportedly turned down an offer that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in UFC history amid the rising displeasure of fighters within the promotion at their pay.
After a lengthy set of negotiations to try and tie Ngannou down with a bumper new deal, White revealed the Cameroonian would be parting ways with the UFC and vacating his heavyweight title. White also announced Jon Jones’ bout with Ciryl Gane will have the vacant belt on the line on March 4.
Ngannou reportedly wanted more money to continue fighting under the UFC banner and felt he was lowballed when it came to a headline anticipated fight with Jones. He also wanted a deal that allowed him to explore other opportunities outside the octagon, such as boxing.
Promotions like PFL and Bellator MMA already allow for fighters to explore such avenues. Ngannou sparked a wave of speculation regarding a potential move to Paul’s ‘Super Fight’ division after posting a photo on Instagram with one of his family members wearing a PFL t-shirt.
White suggested Ngannou was looking for less risk in 2023 and so the Predator is no longer a part of the UFC roster. Paul – a frequent vocal critic of the UFC’s business model – took to social media to comment on the news.
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Unsurprisingly, the 17-3 Ngannou is being courted by plenty of rival promotions. His next move likely depends on how quickly he recovers from knee surgery, with fans suggesting this could be in late spring or early summer.
The 36-year-old has expressed a desire to compete in boxing and even teased a blockbuster clash with reigning WBC champion Tyson Fury on a number of occasions. After the heavyweight’s release, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman – who is known to pay former UFC fighters handsomely – said the promotion would make Ngannou an offer.
“We’re very interested in signing Francis Ngannou and would very much like to have him compete in the stacked BKFC heavyweight division,” Feldman said Sunday in a statement to MMA Junkie. “We’re tabling an offer for his services, and hopefully fans will see him in the BKFC squared circle in 2023.”
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