UFC President Dana White has criticized Triller and Ryan Kavanaugh, the company’s co-founder. Kavanaugh says White harbors animosity toward him because he has sparked discussions about UFC fighters‘ pay and the fairness of their contracts.
His arguments were confirmed last night at the UFC 270 Post-Fight Press Conference when UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou spoke about his own dispute.
“Dana underpays his fighters, that’s just a known thing,” Kavanaugh told me last Wednesday via Zoom. “And, in my view, contracts are indentured servitude.”
“He locks these fighters in. So not only can they just do the UFC, they can’t do anything even if it’s not competitive.” Ngannou echoed those sentiments last night.
For context, Ngannou said ESPN earlier this month, he will no longer fight for the UFC after UFC 270 under his current contract. Here’s what Ngannou said after being asked about his position in the UFC following his win over Ciryl Gane last night:
“I don’t feel like it’s fair. I don’t feel like a free man,” Ngannou said. “I don’t feel like I was treated well,” he continued. “We put a lot of work into this job. We take a lot on our bodies to make it happen; at least we can have a fair and square deal.”
According to Kavanaugh, these inequalities, felt by Ngannou and other UFC athletes, are due to White’s design. “It’s part of the UFC model; let’s not make any fighter too important, always make the UFC important.
“On a business level, I understand, but on a human level, it’s awful.”
Kavanaugh used the George St-Pierre vs. Oscar De La Hoya crossover fight as an example, saying how the two were okay, “but he [Dana White] blocked him just for the hell of him blocking him.”
St-Pierre was asked about how the exhibition match fell through by Ariel Helwani on MMA hour back in August. “I am retired from the sport of mixed martial arts but still under contract with the UFC.”
Because of this, he needed White’s blessing, but White didn’t want Triller to make any money from him under contract, so he blocked him, according to St-Pierre.
Like St-Pierre, Ngannou has also expressed interest in boxing, with Tyson Fury asking his audience about Twitter if they want to see the two face off.
Ngannou spoke to TMZ last month about his transition to boxing, saying, “It’s [going to] happen anyway. Even though when the UFC and I finalize a deal, the boxing part must be in it because I don’t see myself [retiring] without boxing.”
He echoed those remarks last night at the UFC 270 press conference, saying he wanted to box before retiring from combat sports, but if history is any indicator, the UFC could block. the crossing motion pending the contractual dispute not being settled.