Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou of Cameroon signed up Tuesday with the PFL, a rival American organization, allowing him, according to the league, to fight in English boxing, as he wanted, and in mixed martial arts, his favorite discipline.
Four months ago, Ngannou, 36, then a heavyweight belt holder, stormed out of the UFC, MMA's most powerful league, amid disagreements over his compensation and that of other fighters in the organization.
He seems to have obtained the guarantees he wanted in the PFL, a more confidential organization but one that has multiplied its media blows in recent weeks to emerge in the landscape of the various MMA leagues.
With the PFL, Ngannou will, according to the New York Times, compete in an English boxing match in 2023, and will return to fight in MMA in his new league in 2024.
He also becomes a member of the organization's Advisory Board to represent the interests of the fighters, and president of its African branch with the mission of detecting new fighters and organizing events in 2025 on the continent.
Neither the length nor the amount of the contract was disclosed by Ngannou or the PFL, but "everything in my agreement with the PFL is more than any other offer," Ngannou was quoted by the New York Times as saying. The PFL, in turn, boasted on its Instagram account that it had made "the most expensive and biggest signing in MMA history."
In addition to Ngannou, the PFL has announced other high-profile signings in recent weeks with that of influencer and fighter Jake Paul, French fighter Cedric Doumbé, while former Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison is currently the figurehead.
None of Ngannou's upcoming fights have been scheduled yet.