Eric Nicksick: Francis Ngannou didn’t leave the UFC because of money

Eric Nicksick says Francis Ngannou parting ways with the UFC wasn’t about the money.

After ongoing negotiations, heavyweight champion Ngannou failed to come to terms with the promotion. UFC president Dana White said Ngannou rejected an offer that would have made him the highest paid heavyweight in the promotion’s history, but Nicksick says Ngannou just wanted to stick to his guns.

Ngannou vocalized his desire to box and wanted it to be a part of his new UFC deal. But White and the UFC brass dismissed that idea, and as a result, Ngannou no longer is on the roster.

“He knew what he wanted and he didn’t budge on what he wanted, so kudos to him,” Nicksick told The Schmo. “The money was there, and that’s not what moves him. It wasn’t the money that was moving him, it was other things, other terms – some sticking points that he just couldn’t wave around.

“I think that’s something that was definitely a sticking point for him – that he wanted the opportunity to be able to box. I think the definition of ‘independent contractor’ and ’employee’ was something he just wasn’t comfortable with. He waned the opportunity that if somebody came along and was a higher bidder, he wanted to be able to take that opportunity.”

The promotion moved on fast and booked former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones against ex-interim titleholder Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title in the UFC 285 main event March 4. Nicksick admitted the idea of losing out on the Jones fight bugs him, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of them fighting in the future.

“That part’s always going to bother me on the competitive side, because Jon Jones is the GOAT to me,” Nicksick said. “So the competitor in me, yes, I’m always going to wish that we had that opportunity to put a game plan together, to go execute against who I think is the best ever to do it. So that’s going to bug but me at the end of the day. That opportunity might still be on the table later on down the line.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie