“That’s Exactly What the UFC Was Waiting For” – Francis Ngannou Says His Awkward Encounter With Ciryl Gane Was Staged

Published 11/25/2021, 9:39 AM EST


Francis Ngannou is unhappy with the UFC. The heavyweight champion thinks that his uncomfortable moment with his former coach Fernand Lopez and Ciryl Gane at UFC 268 was staged by the promotion.

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Ngannou attended the event and was walking to his seat. Incidentally, he had walked past Gane and his team without acknowledging them. In an interview with Daniel Cormier, Ngannou explained his part of the story. He felt that the UFC planned the awkward encounter.

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While explaining what was going on in his mind, Ngannou said, “It’s been a couple of years now that he’s [Lopez] out there, picking on me…. I want to be nice but I won’t go, you know. When I saw him in that position, I have few thoughts. I’m like ‘Okay, should I say Hi?’. Then I’m like ‘I don’t know’.”

It seems Ngannou walked away to avoid controversies. He said that he felt it would be awkward to greet Gane and Nassourdine Imavov without greeting Lopez, who was right there.

Speaking about UFC’s part in this, Ngannou said (h/t MMA Fighting), “That’s exactly what the UFC was waiting for. When you look at that video, they were waiting for me around the corner. It’s not like they wanted the story, the bad blood -they created that [scene].”

Ngannou explained how a lady was guiding him and his manager towards their seat. However, after talking over the radio, she told them that they were going the wrong way, and they turned back around. That’s when Gane, Imavov, and Lopez emerged right there.

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Gane surely seemed upset about being ignored by his former sparring partner. It definitely seemed like an awkward moment for everyone involved.

Bad blood between Francis Ngannou and Fernand Lopez

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Lopez has previously been Ngannou’s coach. They started working together in 2013 and formed a great friendship. However, years down the line, they had a disagreement. ‘The Predator’ felt that his coach was chasing fame. This led to bitterness in their professional and personal relationship.

Ngannou has no issue with Gane, though. But Lopez is Gane’s coach as well. Greeting one person and ignoring the other seemed to make him uncomfortable. Hence, he chose to walk away calmly.

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What do you think about Francis Ngannou ignoring Ciryl Gane and Fernand Lopez? Let us know in the comments below.

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Rohini Kottu

132 articles

Rohini Kottu is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. She is also a Psychologist and has a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Rohini, in her role as a UFC writer, combines her admiration for the mental resilience that MMA fighters have and her love for analysis.

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