When Francis Ngannou successfully defended his heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, fans were understandably excited. It was not the win that sparked discussion, however, but rather what occurred next. Watching Dana White, president of the UFC, wrap the belt around the winning fighter’s waist has become a tradition, but he was a no show after the match. He also failed to show for the post-match press conference, another highly unusual absence. Both events seemed to be overt snubs to Ngannou as the pair continue to clash over contract negotiations.
It is worth noting that White was at the event and presented Deiveson Figueiredo with a flyweight title. The decision to miss Ngannou’s presentation seems like a deliberate decision, and fans are outraged.
For his part, White is tired of hearing about his apparent snub against Ngannou. He continues to insist that there was nothing untoward about his absence that night and that he was simply preoccupied over something happening backstage: “I actually walked out of the arena right after the co-main event because there was stuff going on backstage that I was dealing with.”
Furthermore, White claims that he was cordial to Ngannou all week, shaking his hand and saying hello to him.
Fans have been understandably skeptical about White’s explanation, and so have previous UFC fighters. Former heavyweight Brendan Schaub is particularly incredulous about the situation, stating that the disrespect was a mistake given Ngannou’s talent and track record.
Former top lightweight Al Iaquinta is similarly disbelieving of White’s claims. In addition to praising Ngannou’s determination to negotiate a better deal for himself, the retired fighter commented that there must have been something “crazy” going on backstage to warrant such an unusual absence.
What do you think about the latest developments in White and Ngannou’s feud?