UFC president Dana White said Wednesday he did not mean to “disrespect” Francis Ngannou as he missed the post-match ceremony after UFC 270.
Ngannou secured the heavyweight title belt as he defeated Ciryl Gane on Saturday night. White traditionally places the belt on the winner of a given match, though on Saturday, he was absent from the post-fight news conference.
White said Wednesday he didn't attend the ceremony because he “had something to deal with backstage,” per ESPN.
“For anybody that thinks I was showing any kind of disrespect towards Francis, I saw Francis all week, you idiots,” White told interviewer Laura Sanko on ESPN+. “I shook his hand, I said hi to him. I was out there for the stare-downs, the whole thing.”
White and Ngannou have been involved in a dispute regarding the fighter’s contract for much of the last year, in part over a clause that prevents Ngannou from boxing professionally.
Ngannou will likely be out for extended time regardless of his contract. He needs surgery to repair a damaged MCL and ACL in his right leg, with the recovery process slated to last roughly nine months.
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