UFC president Dana White says star Francis Ngannou can leave the promotion at the end of his contract if he wants.
The fighter and his representatives have had a tension-filled relationship with the UFC with Ngannou criticising them publicly. White says if he is that unhappy he should leave.
White told ESPN: “Look, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you. If you don’t want to be with us, no problem. It’s all good. I think his contract, and this is off the top of my head, if he wins he still has time with us after this fight. He’d probably have one more fight.
“These things happen. Sometimes you don’t always come to terms with people. When you’re a fighter, you have to be careful who represents you. I don’t think he’s had the best representation.”
The heavyweight champion is headlining UFC 270 in January in a title fight against Ciryl Gane. His opponent is at the heart of one of Ngannou’s biggest arguments with the UFC as they allowed Gane and Derrick Lewis to fight for an interim heavyweight title.
The 35-year-old couldn’t understand why the promotion couldn’t wait to hold a fight when he was ready.
He recently told Sports Illustrated: “I don’t recognise [Gane’s] belt. I’m the undisputed heavyweight champion. [Gane’s belt] isn’t legitimate, it is a replacement. The presence of the champion makes the interim title invalid. And I’m here.”