If you are a fight fan like me, then you have been looking forward to the greatest spectacle of mixed
martial arts that the UFC can offer. Jon Jones was due to face Francis Ngannou for the undisputed
heavyweight championship of the world. Francis had been away from the octagon for a year. Jones has
been away from the octagon for 3 years. Both men wanted immense paydays to risk their lives and
legacies in order to step into the octagon and fight. As long been widely accepted and mixed martial
artists make pennies compared to boxers, and less than 5% of company revenue as a whole. At the final
hour, when contracts were due to be signed Francis became afraid, wanted to fight lesser competition,
and decided to exercise free agency and not resign with the UFC. Therefore, the prospect of the greatest
fighter of all time in Jones versus the hardest punching fighter in history has gone from a set date to
have forgotten dream. All of this happened because Francis was afraid. That’s what Dana White I want
you to believe. That's the narrative he is pushing. When Dana White is not slapping his wife, he is trying
to tarnish the reputation of fighters who decide to stand up for themselves.
Dana White has always been a vocal proponent for Francis Ngannou’s power. The former heavyweight
champion punches in excess of 121,000 PSI. That power is harder than any punch ever recorded.
According to Dana White, it’s the same Force as having a sledgehammer being swung overhead or being
hit by a Ford escort going full speed. “This guy looks like the heavyweight champion of something,” is
what Dana White would say as he drooled over the chiseled physique of Francis Ngannou. When Francis
defeated Stipe Miocic, avenging his first UFC loss against the perceived greatest heavyweight of all time
in MMA, the prospect of fighting Jones was brought about by the media. Dana White said,” If I were Jon
Jones I would consider fighting at 185.” Thusly, insinuating that Jon Jones who fought at 205 and
inspired to move up to the heavyweight division should run. Why then is he saying that Francis is afraid
to fight Jones.
When fighters don’t do what Dana White wants, or he flat out doesn’t like them, he assails their
character and then gets rid of them. Christine Cyborg Justino didn’t want to fight. Demetrious Johnson
didn’t want to fight. Anytime you don’t adhere to the UFC strong-arming in contracts you don’t want to
fight. Even when you ask and beg to fight, you don’t want to fight.
Francis wanted to fight. His issue was his contract and classification. All UFC fighters are regarded as
independent contractors. But they do not have the freedom that is allowed to independent contractors.
UFC fighters belong to the UFC. They cannot work for other organizations. They cannot have
unapproved sponsorships. These limitations and censorships fall in line with being an employee. But
employees get health care, which UFC fighters do not. So which is it. Employee or independent
contractor? This was Francis’ dilemma. He asked a common question. He pointed out a discrepancy. He
doesn’t want to fight.
When fight fans go along with the narrative that a fighter doesn’t want to fight because the promoter
doesn’t get their way and still maintain the public platform in which to disparage people he doesn’t
agree with, not only is the fighter hurt but the sport. Sure, they will be outrage and defenders at first.
But, over time, the narrative will take over. This is for two reasons. The first being that fight fans are
short-sighted. We may not get this fight that we want. But we will get another fight that we want. The
second reason is that history favors those who remain. If Dana White has gone unchecked attacking the
reputation of fighters that he does not agree with, why should he stop. He has fight fans talking about
fights and fighters as a way to distract from him slapping his wife twice in public. That is the entire
reason why fights that we want are happening now. It is to take attention away from the fact that Dana
White does want to fight. He just wants to fight his wife. Accountability! That is what is needed by fight
fans. Someone who can stand in public after assaulting a woman, but when he has a problem with a
man hides behind his soapbox, should not garner credibility or respect. Iron and scrutiny are the only
titles to bestow. They are well earned. So give them.