Francis Ngannou remains a free agent after talks with ONE Championship over the weekend failed to produce a partnership.
Previously, Ngannou was set to entertain a final offer from ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who was optimistic they could sign the exiled former champion. Despite an exhaustive meeting that lasted three hours, neither Sityodtong nor Ngannou could agree to terms.
“ONE has decided to withdraw from the process of bidding for Francis Ngannou’s services. After careful reflection, we decided not to submit our final offer. Francis is a good guy and a good champion. I wish him continued success and happiness.”
Although ONE Championship has the means to rival the UFC on a global scale, they did not have the resources to accommodate Ngannou’s demands. According to a report from the South China Morning Post, Ngannou’s unspecified demands were too far of a bridge for Sityodtong to overcome.
Ngannou has been inactive since a contract dispute arose between himself and the UFC. The former heavyweight champion turned down a large contract to remain with the UFC, primarily due to his request to pursue a boxing match with Tyson Fury. His other demands included exploring fighters forming a union, and health benefits.
Francis Ngannou is overplaying his hand
Since beating Ciryl Gane 16 months ago, Ngannou has been out of competition. He remains a huge acquisition to the lucky group that signs him, though he’s losing steam. The UFC has successfully minimized Ngannou thanks to Jon Jones’ return, and walking out on ONE might not have been a good idea.
The sympathy expressed for Ngannou can only last for so long. Without the public identity or visibility like Conor McGregor or Brock Lesnar, Ngannou is just another guy looking for a job. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship president David Feldman said that Ngannou wanted more money than the promotion could afford. Bellator might also be in the same boat.
That leaves PFL as the most likely group to sign him at this point. Unless he is able to sign a boxing deal, Ngannou is on the shelf nearing the point of becoming a non-factor.