Francis Ngannou: former UFC champion finds new home with PFL - how much will he make?

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Francis Ngannou signs for Professional Fight League and joins another famous fighter - social media celebrity Jake Paul

MMA fans need not to wait any longer to find out the next move for former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou - as one of MMA’s hottest free agents has found a new home as the biggest signing the Professional Fighters League (PFL) have ever made.

A press release announcing the signing stated “The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has announced an exclusive global MMA strategic partnership with Francis Ngannou, the greatest MMA fighter in the world today. Ngannou is the former UFC heavyweight champion, the first African heavyweight world champion in history, and the hardest hitting fighter in MMA history.” 

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His acquisition for PFL comes after Ngannou, 36, entered the U.F.C. in 2015 and became the heavyweight champion in 2021. But before the last fight on his U.F.C. contract in January 2022, Ngannou said he was prepared to leave the promotional company if they could not reach an agreement on a new contract. Known for their reluctance at times to extend contracts (see: Conor McGregor), the UFC allowed Ngannou to walk and become the subject of numerous “what next for Francis” articles.

Though the PFL are not at the same level as the MMA global-leader Ultimate Fighting Championships, they do boast an already impressive roster, including Jake Paul. The social media star, who has competed so far in a variety of boxing matches, has officially signed with the promotion - though for those who are hoping for a Ngannou/Paul fight at this stage will be disappointed to know the two will be in different weight divisions.

However, both have the commonality that they have gone on record to discuss publicly the unfair business practices of the UFC. In Ngannou’s case, his last negotiations with UFC involved the possibility of an increase in salary and the ability to box. Ngannou had teased a crossover bout with Tyson Fury, the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, but athletes under contract with the U.F.C. must fight exclusively within the promotion.

Under the PFL contract, competitors sign deals with more favourable terms than are generally available in the sport, including bigger guarantees and bigger cuts of pay-per-view revenue, and in the case of Ngannou, the potential to navigate between MMA and boxing - leading now to a rumoured encounter with British boxer Anthony Joshua.

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How much is Francis Ngannou making with PFL?

Though details of the contract have not been made public, SBNation have speculated, based on a leak of information, that the former UFC champion could stand to make six-figures easy with his first fight. That would include any fight bonuses, the pot from the bought and a fair split of the box office and live receipts (ticket revenue.) 

Though the deal from the UFC was said to make Francis Ngannou the highest paid heavyweight fighter in the world, the catch was that they would not allow the athlete the opportunity to box - surprising, given the huge box office that Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. made with their encounter.

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