BKFC president David Feldman isn’t trying to say Francis Ngannou was wrong with what he said, but neither is he.
While Ngannou was still a free agent this past April, Feldman raised eyebrows when he came out and said he’d reached out to the former UFC heavyweight champion and, based on that conversation, reached the conclusion that Ngannou was asking for “unrealistic money.”
Ngannou didn’t offer a public reaction to Feldman’s words until he signed an unprecedented contract with the PFL in mid-May. Ngannou certainly turned heads when he said that Feldman “never even reached out” to talk business.
Six months later, Feldman offered an explanation.
“I’m in a position of really growing this company, and I’m not gonna make a false statement like that,” Feldman told MMA Junkie this week. “I never actually said that I spoke to Francis Ngannou; I never did. I spoke to his team. I spoke to his manager, Marquel (Martin), and we talked some numbers. And I just thought that it was too high for our taste buds at that time.
So (Ngannou) is right, and he’s wrong. I never did speak to him exactly, personally, but I spoke to his team about him fighting, and if they didn’t transfer the message over to him then, you know, that’s not really my problem or my business. But I’m not gonna make up a story that I talked to one of the biggest stars in MMA and it get out that I didn’t talk to him. That’s not something that I would ever do.”
When Feldman was made aware that Ngannou also specified nobody from his management team ever spoke to him, Feldman flat-out denied Ngannou’s claim.
“That’s completely false,” Feldman said. “I’ve got text messages with Marquel, so … again, it’s not something that we need to keep dragging on. But at the end of the day, why would I make up that I talked to him and said that he’s not worth it? Like I would say, ‘Hey, from the money that he’s being offered in other organizations, I don’t think he’s worth it.’ Why would I say that? I have nothing to gain by saying that. So I absolutely had a conversation with (Marquel), I talked to him on the phone, and then I text messaged him. It’s just something that didn’t work.”
Whatever the case may be, Ngannou ultimately signed with the PFL, which gave him the freedom to pursue boxing. As a result, Ngannou landed a long sought-after mega fight with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, which took place last month in Saudi Arabia.
Ngannou looked impressive and scored the only knockdown of the fight, but Fury escaped with a split decision win.