UFC president Dana White explains why he didn’t present Francis Ngannou with the heavyweight championship belt at UFC 270.
Ngannou won a unanimous decision over his former training partner Ciryl Gane in the main event of last Saturday’s UFC 270 pay-per-view card. While the fight was billed to be a clash of the titans between the two best heavyweights in the sport, the fight turned out to be lackluster. Either way, Ngannou did what he needed to do to get the win. But after the fight was over, “The Predator” was snubbed by White, who left his cage-side seat around the Octagon before the UFC president had a chance to put the belt around the champ’s waist. It was a very bizarre scene, as White puts the belt around the champ almost every time.
Of course, Ngannou is currently going through a contract dispute with the UFC, so naturally, fans and media speculated that’s why White left the fight early. But speaking to the UFC on ESPN’s Laura Sanko in a recent Q&A, White said the reason he didn’t put the belt on Ngannou was that he had to run backstage to deal with something.
“For anybody that thinks I was showing any kind of disrespect towards Francis — I saw Francis all week, you idiots. I shook his hand, I said hi to him. I was out there for the stare-downs, the whole thing,” White said.
As for the game plan of Ngannou wrestling Gane instead of standing and banging, White believed it was a smart game plan from the champion and says his strategy had nothing to do with not presenting the belt.
“I don’t think anybody expected Francis to come in and wrestle,” White said. “Brilliant game plan by Francis to do what he did the way that he did it.”
Of course, none of this answers the question of why White didn’t attend the UFC 270 post-fight press conference, but if we are to believe White, it appears this “backstage situation” had him tied up.
Do you believe the explanation that Dana White provided as to why he didn’t wrap the belt around the waist of Francis Ngannou at UFC 270?
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