Dana White says Francis Ngannou knew about interim title and the fight makes sense

Many heads were turned when the UFC announced an interim heavyweight title fight between contenders Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane, just five months after Francis Ngannou became champion. Following the interim title fight announcement, there was a public feud between members of Ngannou’s team and UFC President Dana White, with White saying Ngannou’s team was made aware of the fight, and the champion feeling confused about why the fight was made.

On Tuesday, Dana White looked to provide a bit of clarity regarding the heavyweight title situation. During an interview with Farah Hannoun of UFC Arabia, White laid out how the interim title fight came together, Francis Ngannou’s involvement, and the drama between his management team.

“Yeah I responded to his manager, but I wasn’t really talking about him. I was talking about the other guy who represents him, I really wasn’t talking about him. I was just responding to his thing where we were saying ‘we were shocked by this’. I said that’s a bunch of bullshit, you guys aren’t shocked, we’ve been talking about this for weeks if we didn’t get a deal done.”

“This has happened a million times, what happens is, we run a business and we put on fights every Saturday night. We needed to do that fight in Houston, so we did it, we did an interim title fight which absolutely makes sense. We’ve got Derrick Lewis, the number 2 guy in the world, Derrick Lewis actually beat Francis, and Ciryl came off the win that weekend. You got the top two guys in the world, the top two guys in the world to fight for the championship and when Francis is ready to go after this fight, we’ll make the fight with the winner.”

Francis Ngannou and his team were pushing to get a title fight done for September but during the interview, Dana White said that they needed to have the heavyweight title fight happen in August.

“We needed to go on that date in Houston, so that’s how it worked out.”

The fight between Lewis and Gane is set for UFC 265 in August and will serve as the main event over an undisputed bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena. It’ll be the second opportunity for UFC gold for Derrick Lewis who came up short in his first attempt at UFC 230 against Daniel Cormier for the undisputed title.

After a 3-0 start to his career, Ciryl Gane has gone 6-0 during his UFC career which has led him to this title shot against Lewis.

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