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Francis Ngannou talks 'frustrating' feud with Dana White after retaining UFC title

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 1/23/2022 Adam Stites, Yardbarker
Francis Ngannou (red gloves) before his fight against Ciryl Gane during UFC 270 at Honda Center. © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Francis Ngannou (red gloves) before his fight against Ciryl Gane during UFC 270 at Honda Center.

Francis Ngannou is still the UFC heavyweight champion after a come-from-behind win against Ciryl Gane on Saturday. But it was the absence of UFC president Dana White after Ngannou's win that raised eyebrows.

Instead of White wrapping the belt around Ngannou's waist as is customary after a championship fight, it was UFC vice president Mick Maynard who did the honors. Then White opted against attending the post fight press conference.

"I don’t know. You have to ask him," Ngannou said at a presser when asked why White didn't wrap the belt around his waist. "No, I did not have anything to do about that. I think that was their decision. I’m about to ask about that, too."

Ngannou, 35, won the belt in March 2021 in devastating fashion when he knocked Stipe Miocic out. Tensions quickly rose between Ngannou and the UFC, though, when he was unwilling to defend on the promotion's quick timeline. Less than five months after Ngannou won the belt, the UFC crowned Gane as the interim heavyweight champion.

In the months that followed Gane becoming interim champ, Ngannou has made it clear that he disagreed with the UFC's decision to hand out another belt, that he wants to be paid more and that he should be free to compete in boxing if he wishes. White has said that Ngannou is being "misguided too by some people that aren't very bright" and that he's "made some real money and he’s out there spending it."

“The only reason why were are here, I think, is because at some point, I wasn’t respected," Ngannou said Saturday night. "[White] could have taken way less to get this deal done but he went to a power position and got everybody frustrated, get me frustrated, get me to lose the desire of doing things.

“I get in this sport, I didn’t grow up dreaming about this sport. I just got into it because it was fun and all that stuff. Then you get to the point that you’re kind of find yourself at that point in the sport where it’s not fun, which is frustrating. It kind of messes with your mind. But I’m pretty good trying to stay focused, just think about the sport and nothing around it and hope that things are going to go right.”

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