MMA fighter Francis Ngannou has inked a contract with PFL and is expected to make his debut in 2024

The leading tournament-based MMA promotion, PFL, has landed a major star in the form of Francis Ngannou, with the fighter signing a “strategic partnership” and taking on leadership roles in the company. Ngannou had been the subject of much speculation since relinquishing his UFC heavyweight title earlier this year in pursuit of new opportunities.

The deal with PFL gives Ngannou equity in the promotion and puts him in charge of the chairman position of PFL Africa, while also earning him a place on the company’s advisory board, representing the interests of other fighters.

He will take part in the PFL’s newly launched “superfight” division, which is set to showcase high-profile bouts with bigger payouts for the fighters, most notably on pay-per-view. Ngannou plans to make his PFL debut in 2024 after fulfilling a boxing ambition in 2023. PFL CEO, Peter Murray, insists that Ngannou’s agreement with the promotion is a business deal, not simply an athlete contract.

“The past few months have been a very interesting time to understand and see the landscape but I’m very excited about this deal with the PFL because they basically showed what I was expecting. They didn’t just show up as a promotion that was looking for a fighter, but really came as a partner that sees more value in you as a person,” explains Ngannou of his decision to join PFL.

For PFL, the signing is a major coup, as Ngannou had been pursued by several other top-tier promotions. The deal will also allow Ngannou to pursue his dream of professional boxing, following his failed negotiations with the UFC. Ngannou was keen to have health insurance for fighters and a fighter representative in contract negotiations included in his UFC deal, but these were out of the question for the industry leader.

Ngannou was technically bound to the UFC for one year or three fights under a champion’s clause, but became a free agent following the expiration of a sunset clause in his five-year contract with the company. Dana White, the UFC President, stated that Ngannou would not feature in the UFC again after his departure from the promotion.

The PFL deal represents a fresh start and new business opportunities for Ngannou, who has made a stellar name for himself in MMA. At UFC 270, he defeated former training colleague Ciryl Gane to unify the heavyweight titles, despite carrying an injury that would require surgery later.


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