‘Nigerian Brotherhood’ Did Not Help Francis Ngannou – Luke Rockhold Says Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman Left the UFC Champion Hanging Alone

Published 09/14/2021, 6:31 AM EDT
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 11: Luke Rockhold prepares to enter the Octagon before facing Yoel Romero of Cuba in their interim middleweight title bout during the UFC 221 event at Perth Arena on February 11, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, sat down for an interview with Ariel Helwani recently at The MMA Hour show. While it was a fresh vibe for MMA fans to see Rockhold being so smooth in an interview, he brought up some legit good points as well.

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Rockhold talked about the much-discussed issue regarding fighters’ pay in the UFC. Many top stars of the UFC believe that they are underpaid and Rockhold agrees. In fact, the former champion believes the likes of Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman had the perfect chance to bring a change when their fellow champion, Francis Ngannou, had a dispute with the UFC recently.

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I mean, no. If they are gonna do that to Francis and no one else of his Nigerian brothers are gonna get behind him, and sack up like they should have been, when he got shelved, he got two Nigerian brothers, the champions that should have just stood by him, maybe that could change the landscape, but that’s about it,” said Rockhold.

I saw an opportunity there, that’s where I saw an opportunity. Other than that, you need 25 guys. 25 guys aren’t coming together,” he added, talking about the possibility of fighters uniting.

NEWARK, NJ – APRIL 18: Luke Rockhold celebrates defeating Lyoto Machida of Brazil by tap out in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Prudential Center on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

That was the only thing I saw that would have actually could have leveled the playing field and changed things for better. Because when you f**k with Francis and you got these 3 amigos, Nigerian brotherhood, if those two would have stood up, they could’ve f**ked, they could’ve f**ked deep and hard,” he said further.

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Has Luke Rockhold brought up a good point here?

It was actually a very smart assessment by the former UFC middleweight champion. It is quite tough for fighters to come under one roof, as most of them like to work in an independent manner. And if two champions of Adesanya and Usman‘s stature had taken a stance, it would have caught the attention of the public in general.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 27: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon reacts after his victory over Stipe Miocic in their UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 260 event at UFC APEX on March 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Ngannou was annoyed by the UFC’s decision to introduce the interim heavyweight title, as he believes it hasn’t been too long since he became the champion. So, Rockhold might just have come up with a very reasonable point here, to say the least. What’s your take on this?

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Apratim Banerjee

1175 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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