UFC president Dana White shared his thoughts on the state of boxing as well as the way his current heavyweight champion’s career is being guided.
On a recent edition of The Fight with Teddy Atlas, White was asked about Ngannou’s current status ahead of his upcoming title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January. Ngannou previously accused the UFC of discrediting him, which ultimately led to the promotion going with an interim title fight between Gane and Derrick Lewis at UFC 265.
While the relationship between Ngannou, his management, and the UFC doesn’t seem to have improved all that much, White says he spoke with the powerful heavyweight champ and says things were positive.
“Francis and I bumped into each other the other night at dinner,” White said. “We had a good talk and he’s not out of contract if he wins that fight. I think he’s got one more fight with us after that. I say it all the time, this sport’s fun for me. I love doing this, and contrary to the narrative out there, we’ve made a lot of people very wealthy. If you don’t wanna be here, if this is not where you want to be, well, that’s not fun for you and it’s definitely not fun for me, either.
“There are all grown men and women, and everybody has to make their own decisions in life and go down their own paths, but I think Francis and I had a good conversation.”
Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin recently told Sirius XM that he hasn’t heard from the UFC since June in regards to Ngannou’s current contract status.
Ironically enough, White feels Martin may be more of the issue in the souring of this relationship than his fighter.
“I think Francis has been misguided by some people who aren’t very bright,” White stated. “That doesn’t help either when you’ve got some people behind you who have no f*cking clue what they’re talking about. It doesn’t help your situation.”
White was also asked about the possibility of him getting into the boxing space. Around the time of the cross-promotional boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, the UFC president wore t-shirts and discussed potential plans for Zuffa Boxing.
At this point, White says the sport needs to be cleaned up before that can be a reality. One of the big problems White sees in the boxing space is people not looking at the growth of the sport with the same passion he does. For years, White has said the goal for his company was to be the “biggest sport in the world.”
“That’s never been the goal of boxing,” White explained. “Every time [promotions] put on a fight, it’s like a going out of business sale. ‘How much can we steal from everybody,’ and every time you turn on the TV, you’re pissed that you stayed home on a Saturday night and watched the fight. You wish you did something else.
“[They] don’t even care if the fans are happy with the product. You don’t care, because that guy isn’t gonna fight for over another year again and everybody will forget how sh*tty this fight was, and they’ll buy the next one.”