UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou announced on Twitter that he feels the UFC sponsorship deals with Venum and Crypto.com are "Rip-offs". In his tweets, Ngannou refers to the UFC sponsorship deals that no longer allow fighters to sport their personal sponsors' brands while walking to, in, or leaving the UFC octagon.
Fighters are ripped off with Sponsorship. It’s a huge source of revenue for us but the company keeps exploiting that for their own benefit.— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) August 17, 2022
Francis Ngannou continued, saying he understands that athletes wear uniforms but he would still like the opportunity to earn from his personal sponsors while competing. He also added that he lost over $1 million from a crypto sponsorship due to the UFC's partnership with crypto.com
I understand that the sport needs to look good with uniforms but we should at least have a right for a minimum of 2 approved sponsors for in the octagon.— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) August 17, 2022
Last year I lost a deal of over a million dollars from a crypto exchange because the partnership with CRYPTO .COM— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) August 17, 2022
What do I got from it ? 🤔
After failed negotiations earlier this year, Francis Ngannou is expected to vacate the UFC Heavyweight Championship and test the MMA market. Back in January, Ngannou voiced his frustration over the $20 million pay gap between the top boxers and top UFC fighters. In the same interview, Ngannou expressed his willingness to leave the UFC if they can't see eye-to-eye. (See clips from the interview below)
It is widely believed that Ngannou can leave the UFC in January without penalty due to the terms of his contract. Seeing statements like the ones above, it's all but clear that Ngannou will be vacating the UFC Heavyweight championship and leaving the organization.