Francis Ngannou has revealed that ONE Championship CEO, Chatri Sityodtong had attempted to sway his signature from a verbal agreement with the PFL (Professional Fighters League) – claiming the promotion could make him as influential as the late anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela.
Ngannou, a former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion up and until his departure from the promotion back in January of this year, was the subject of main headlines across the globe this week, after his ground-breaking move to the above-mentioned, PFL was confirmed.
Francis Ngannou is expected to make his PFL debut next year
However, the Cameroon knockout artist, who will ride an impressive six-fight winning spree into his expected mixed martial arts return next year, held crunch talks with Singapore-based promotion, ONE Championship before his move to the PFL.
Revealing some details of that lengthy sit-down with the above-mentioned, Sityodtong in Los Angeles earlier this month, Francis Ngannou claimed that the promotional CEO had just put on a performance for him – in regards to the organization’s statistics and prowess.
“I think Chatri (Sityodtong) was just performing,” Francis Ngannou told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I told him and Matt Hume that I got the best offer from PFl and I don’t think, I’m not going to do any negotiation with you guys. That was like back, six weeks before that. And he was like, ‘Oh, I can fly you to Singapore. I can fly to Cameroon. I got this.’ He was all in. I was like, this is too much. I don’t know how to handle this.”
“How are you going to fly to Cameroon? What for? I just told the guy the situation and then he kept pushing. Then I sent it to my team. ‘I can’t handle this pressure from Chatri.’ Then he kept pushing, kept pushing. …So I have to see, for respect. We had a talk, I respect the guy, Matter of fact, I love Chatri. Now I even question if that story is true. But I used to love that story.”
And furthermore, during the discussion, Ngannou claims how Sityodtong tried to convince him that the organization could make the Batié native as well-known and influential as former South African president, Mandela.
“I have to drink three or four cups of coffee, listening to all those statistics, how ONE FC is in Asia, Asia is a 4.6 billion people [population], they’re going to do this, they showed me how ONE FC is going to explode, I’m going to be like Nelson Mandela,” Francis Ngannou continued. Brok, it was a hell of a performance. By the way, I applaud Chatri for his performance.”