Even if Francis
Ngannou does return to the UFC, it will be quite some time
before the heavyweight champion is back in action in the
Ngannou’s manager, Marquel Martin, told
ESPN on Wednesday that the fighter will have surgery to repair
a torn MCL and damaged ACL when he returns to the United States.
Ngannou is planning a trip to his native Cameroon and did not want
the procedure to affect his homecoming. Ngannou is expected to need
a minimum of nine months to recover.
Ngannou injured his knee during sparring ahead of his title
unification bout against Ciryl Gane
in the UFC 270 main event. Despite recommendations to pull out of
the fight, “The Predator” went forward with the bout, winning a
unanimous decision behind his wrestling.
« I continue to be amazed and inspired by Francis’ heart and
resilience, » Martin told ESPN. « Fighting on one leg to overcome all
odds, and remind the world he is the undisputed heavyweight
champion of the world. I think we can all agree he deserves some
time to go back home and be with his family and countrymen.
« Upon his return, we plan on getting surgery and starting the
recovery process so we can get him back to 100 percent as soon as
possible. In the meantime, we hope we can find a peaceful
resolution in these contract talks. We’d like to thank all the fans
for their continued support and belief in Francis.”
Ngannou fought the last fight on an eight-bout UFC deal this past
Saturday, but due to a champion’s clause, he remains under contract
with the promotion. Ngannou, who earned a disclosed $600,000 payday
for his win, has said that he is willing to sit out unless new
terms are agreed upon. Ngannou told ESPN that he would like his new
contract to allow him the freedom to box professionally. UFC
president Dana White was not around to present Ngannou with the
belt in the Octagon at UFC 270, nor did he attend Saturday’s
post-fight press conference.