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Francis Ngannou reveals UFC threatened his manager with lawsuit over alleged contact with Jake Paul’s business partner – MMA Root



Francis Ngannou reveals UFC threatened his manager with lawsuit over alleged contact with Jake Paul’s business partner

Just hours before Francis Ngannou was due to defend his heavyweight title against Cyril Gein, his manager received an email from the UFC threatening potential legal action over alleged negotiations with Jake Paul’s business partner.

According to Ngannou, an email was sent to his manager Markel Martin, who is an agent for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), on the day of his fight at UFC 270 with allegations that they were in contact with Nakisa Bidarian, the former chief financial officer of the UFC and now along with Paul is the co-founder of Most Valuable Promotions.

“Going to this fight, I go out into the arena, I get dressed, I put on my suit and I go to the room, waiting for my manager and coach, and they are like “wow”, and I’m like, what’s going on? Ngannou spoke on The MMA Hour. “They told me they just got an email from the UFC saying they are going to sue him for talking to this guy, Nakisa. [Bidarian] and I’m like, who is Nakisa?

“They told me that I don’t know him very well, but he is one of Jake Paul’s team. I think he’s a promoter or something? They’re like “no”, but again, I don’t know. They don’t seem to want to talk to me anymore.”

Sources close to the situation confirmed the authenticity of the email in a conversation with MMA Fighting on Monday.

During an ongoing war of words with Paul in recent months, UFC President Dana White publicly insulted Bidarian, admitting that he previously worked for the promotion.

“If you’ve ever watched one of [Jake’s] fights and you see when they look down, the guy in the middle with a sorcerer’s nose and a big wart on his face, apparently that’s his manager,” White said in a video posted on Twitter.

“This guy used to be my accountant and let’s just say he doesn’t work for me anymore and I think he’s a jerk.”

Regardless of White’s feelings, Ngannou still had no idea who Bidarian was, let alone that he was allegedly involved in any negotiations that required legal action.

“First of all, I don’t know who the hell this guy is,” Ngannou said. “I don’t know him, I wouldn’t recognize him if you put him in front of me. Secondly, he is not a promoter and I cannot have a dialogue with people about boxing. I talk about boxing all the time.”

Ngannou has repeatedly stated that he wanted to move into boxing, discussing a potential showdown with reigning heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Of course, Ngannou has also been involved in a fierce battle with the UFC due to his contract expiring after the conclusion of his fight with Gein last weekend.

Because of the champion clause in the deal, Ngannou will not effectively become a free agent until December 2022, unless he negotiates a new deal with the UFC.

Although Ngannou confirmed that the UFC did try to sign him weeks before the tournament, he did not speak to any officials after the unanimous decision win.

“No, nothing happened after the fight,” Ngannou said. “A few things happened before the fight, but nothing happened after the fight.”

Ngannou also detailed how his manager received a strange text message with an anonymous Las Vegas code, which Martin later posted on his Instagram account.

The message, which contained racist remarks, also hinted at personal information related to Martin, apparently indicating that the text was more than just random spam.

However, Ngannou didn’t want to speculate on who actually sent the message without proof to point fingers at anyone.

“On Saturday morning my manager received an anonymous message, it was very strange,” Ngannou said. “We do not know [who sent the message] but this message was very strange, very racist, offensive.

“I think that someone got very angry, which means we did the right thing. I don’t have any guesses because I don’t have any evidence.”

Despite everything that has happened, including White not wearing the UFC Heavyweight Championship on his belt and then fleeing the arena before appearing at the post-fight press conference, Ngannou says he will still be back to fight for promotion again if his conditions are met.

Ngannou stated that his demands were based not only on finances, but also on the freedom to act as an independent contractor, since that is how the UFC appoints all athletes in the organization, not employees.

“You never know what’s going on in business,” Ngannou said. “Like I said, if they did the right thing, you know what I mean, but they really need to do something. [different].

“I just know what I want. I know that at some point, one way or another, I always have what I want. Because I’m fighting for it.”