By Etienne Mainimo
Cameron-born, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has sealed a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League, PFL.
The announcement was made public on Tuesday, May 16, jointly by the heavyweight champion and PFL.
The CEO of PFL, Peter Murray in a statement said, “The PFL is excited to announce its groundbreaking strategic partnership with Francis Ngannou, the greatest heavyweight fighter in the world. Ngannou will anchor the PFL’s star-studded PPV Super Fight Division, serve on PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Board, and will be a chairman and equity owner in PFL Africa.”
Murray added, “This is not an athlete deal. Francis is an icon today in the sport, he is the best in the world at what he does, but he’s in business with the PFL. We’re in business together.”
A press release also stated that “…Ngannou is the former UFC heavyweight champion, the first African heavyweight world champion in history, and the hardest-hitting fighter in MMA history.”
Speaking to the New York Times, Ngannou said, “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.”
Ngannou said in a tweet:
The 36-year-old is expected to make his PFL debut in 2024 against an opponent to be announced. He is also keen on a professional boxing match, which his new contract with the PFL allows.
The PFL intends to launch multiple leagues across different continents in the coming years, with PFL Africa expected as soon as 2025. PFL Europe was launched this year. Ngannou failed out with UFC after becoming Champions in 2022. He said discussions with the UFC broke down primarily over non-financial issues. Since becoming heavyweight champion in January 2022, Ngannou hasn’t fought. An injury also kept Ngannou off the ring after he terminated his contract with UFC.