‘He’s Out There Picking On Me’- Francis Ngannou Clarifies Backstage Incident with Ciryl Gane and Former Coach

Published 12/15/2021, 7:04 AM EST
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 17: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon celebrates his KO victory over Cain Velasquez in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 17, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC Credits Getty Images)


UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou recently made waves in the MMA community with a decision he made at UFC 268. ‘The Predator’ walked past his former coach, Fernand Lopez and former teammate turned opponent Ciryl Gane backstage during the event. Ngannou avoided eye contact and confidently paced past both men with whom he used to share an association.

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The move immediately was talked about amongst fans and fellow fighters and it helped to bolster interest in the fight. Not to mention, fans wanted to know details regarding the aforementioned situation before UFC 270 rolled around.

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Ngannou pulls back the curtain

Francis Ngannou recently spoke to Mike Bohn from MMA Junkie and talked about the slight towards Gane and his former coach. He cleared the air by saying that the decision to walk past his former team had nothing to do with Ciryl Gane. In fact, he specifically mentioned how the move was in response to the rift he has with his former coach, Fernand Lopez.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MAY 09: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon prepares to fight Jairzinho Rozenstruik of Suriname in their heavyweight fight during the UFC 249 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

I don’t feel any different about it. If I was about to go to the same scene, I would have done the same thing. I did what I thought was best at that moment and obviously this wasn’t directed towards Ciryl because personally I have no problem with him. We are obviously adversaries right now but it’s the fight business, and we’re doing that to provide for our family.”

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“But I couldn’t like just go knowing the allegation and all the lies that Fernand has been saying to me since I haven’t talked to him in two, three years. He’s out there picking on me. I couldn’t just go to him like pretend everything is cool, like no. I have no problem but it’s not cool because I know that he doesn’t carry me on his heart so that was the only problem.”

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It’s clear that even though Francis Ngannou doesn’t have any personal enmity towards Gane, he won’t be holding back in the fight. He has been on record saying that he’s keen to knockout out the elusive striker and make a statement. Moreover, he wants to be the first man to put an end to ‘Bon Gamin’s’ undefeated run as a professional.

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Darryl Pinto

2133 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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