On Monday, the news broke that no. 2 ranked heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis and no. 3 ranked Ciryl Gane will fight for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 265 on Aug. 7 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Immediately following the development, heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou‘s representative Marquel Martin released a statement saying that he was “shocked” by the UFC’s decision to put together an interim title bout. UFC president Dana White quickly responded.
“This dude is SO FULL OF SHIT! He knows EXACTLY what’s going on and isn’t “shocked” at all. Because we told him several times this was coming. His management is incompetent and hopefully Francis starts taking a look at new people to help his career,” White wrote in comments of ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto’s Instagram.
Ngannou won the heavyweight championship at UFC 260 on March 27 by knocking out former titleholder Stipe Miocic. Since winning the belt, who Ngannou would face in his first title defense has been all over the place. At first, the fight promotion wanted to put together a bout between former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Ngannou but couldn’t reach an agreement with Jones.
The second option was a fight between Lewis and Ngannou. Lewis holds a win over Ngannou and is ranked no. 2 in the division. Ngannou was unavailable to defend his title in June or August, subsequently leading to the UFC’s decision to make an interim title fight between Lewis and Gane at UFC 265.
After White commented criticizing Ngannou’s agent, Martin fired back at White.
“Complete shock with your decision after we said September was good for us,” Martin said. “Complete shock that you guys made threats after less than three months after you all were aware. Complete shock after you knew why Francis needed more time. That is correct. I know you’re passionate but you are trying to discredit by integrity when I’ve been nothing but respectful to you, Hunter [Campbell] and your entire staff? Speaks more about you than it does me. I’m not even mad, I’m actually impressed that I’ve gotten your attention.
“Incompetent management? I think we’ve done a damn good job. I think you really don’t like the fact that Francis is being represented by not only me but an entire agency, one which you can’t control. Hence why you have people tryin to rep him all the time to your benefit. [Laughing crying emoji.] I tell you what, let’s disclose everything for people to see. Emails, calls, texts, everything. Deal? Cause I’m ready to get blackballed by the UFC. I’m not defined by it, you or anyone else for that matter. How’s that sound? Sincerely, your old employee, Marquel Martin.”
That escalated quickly.