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Francis Ngannou reveals UFC threatened his manager with lawsuit over alleged contact with Jake Paul’s business partner

Just hours before Francis Ngannou was scheduled to defend his heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane, his manager received an e=mail from the UFC threatening a potential lawsuit over supposed talks with Jake Paul’s business partner.

According to Ngannou, the email was sent to his manager Marquel Martin, who is an agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), on the day of his fight at UFC 270 with allegations that they had been in contact with Nakisa Bidarian — the former chief financial officer for the UFC and now the co-founder of Most Valuable Promotions alongside Paul.

“Going into this fight, going into the arena, I dress up, I put on my suit and I walked to the room waiting for my manager and my coach and they were like ‘wow’ and I’m like what’s going on?” Ngannou revealed on The MMA Hour. “They tell me that they just received an email from the UFC saying they’re going to sue him from talking with this guy Nakisa [Bidarian] and I’m like who is Nakisa?

“They was telling me I don’t know him pretty much but he’s somebody from Jake Paul’s team. I’m like is he a promoter or something? They’re like ‘no’ but once again, I don’t know. It doesn’t look like they want to talk to me anymore.”

Sources close to the situation confirmed the e-mail’s authenticity when speaking with MMA Fighting on Monday.

During an ongoing war of words with Paul in recent months, UFC president Dana White has insulted Bidarian publicly while acknowledging that he previously worked for the promotion.

“If you’ve ever watched one of [Jake’s] fights and you see when they do the staredown, the guy that’s standing in the middle with the warlock nose and the big wart on his face, apparently that’s his manager,” White said in a video posted to Twitter.

“That guy used to be an accountant for me, and let’s just say this — he no longer works for me, and I think he’s a scumbag.”

Regardless of White’s feelings, Ngannou still had no idea who Bidarian was, much less that he had supposedly engaged in any kinds of talks that warranted a lawsuit.

“I don’t know who the hell is this guy, first of all,” Ngannou said. “I don’t know him, I wouldn’t recognize him if you put him in front of me. Secondly, he’s not a promoter and it’s not like I can’t have a dialogue with people about boxing. I talk about boxing all the time.”

Ngannou has been stated numerous times that he wanted to crossover to boxing while discussing a potential showdown with reigning heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Of course, Ngannou has also been engaged in a contentious battle with the UFC over his contract, which came to an end following the conclusion of his fight with Gane this past weekend.

Due to a champion’s clause in the deal, Ngannou won’t actually become a free agent until after December 2022 unless he comes to terms with the UFC on a new deal.

While Ngannou confirmed that the UFC did try to negotiate a contract with him in the weeks leading up to the event, he didn’t speak to any officials after his unanimous decision victory.

“No, nothing happened after the fight,” Ngannou said. “A couple things happened before the fight but nothing happened after the fight.”

Ngannou also detailed how his manager received a strange text message from an anonymous Las Vegas area code that Martin later posted on his Instagram account.

The message, which included racist remarks, also hinted at personal information related to Martin, which seems to indicate that the text wasn’t just random spam.

That said, Ngannou didn’t want to speculate on who actually sent the message without evidence to point the finger at anybody.

“On Saturday morning, my manager received an anonymous message, it was very weird,” Ngannou said. “We don’t know [who sent the message] but that message was very weird, very racist, insulting.

“I think somebody is very pissed off, which means we have been doing the right thing. I don’t have any guess since I don’t have any proof.”

Despite everything that’s happened — including White not putting the UFC heavyweight title around his waist and then bolting from the arena before appearing at the post-fight press conference — Ngannou says he would still return to fight for the promotion again if his terms are met.

Ngannou has stated that his demands aren’t based solely around finances but rather the freedom to operate as an independent contractor since that’s how the UFC designates all of the athletes in the organization rather than employees.

“You never know what’s happening in business,” Ngannou said. “As I said, if they came out right, you know what I mean but they have to really do something [different].

“I just know what I want. I know at some point, one way or another I always have what I want. Because I fight for it.”