Derrick Lewis set to face Ciryl Gane for interim heavyweight title as UFC 265 main event with winner facing Ngannou
THE UFC has booked an interim-heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane – just three months after Francis Ngannou claimed the undisputed title.
Heavy-hitters Lewis and Gane, 36 and 31 respectively, will vie for the interim 265lb strap at UFC 265 on August 7.
The UFC were looking to book a rematch between Ngannou and Lewis – although the former wasn't able to compete before September.
That prompted the promotion to introduce an interim title, which has left MMA fans perplexed.
One said: "The disrespect to Francis Ngannou."
Another said: "Might be the dumbest thing Dana has done. I’m baffled.
"If you want this to be a number 1 contender fight that’s fine but for a interim belt? I’m lost."
And another said: "This makes literally no sense, stipe would fight once a year and no interim title fights were made."
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Ngannou's manager Marquel Martin was similarly perplexed by the booking of the fight, telling ESPN: “This comes as a complete shock.
"To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise.
"We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon.”
UFC president Dana White quickly got wind of the CAA agent's comments and responded by saying: "This dude is SO FULL OF S**T!
"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."
Martin didn't take White's comments lying down and was quick to fire back at the veteran promoter.
He wrote on Instagram: "@danawhite lol… complete shock with your decision with your decision after we said September was good for us?
"Complete shock that you guys made threats after less than 3 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 trying to discredit my integrity when I’ve been nothing but respectful to you, Hunter, 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 of which you can’t control.
“Hence why you have people trying to rep him all the time to your benefit.
"I tell you what, let’s disclose EVERYTHING for people to see.
"Emails, calls, texts, everything. Deal?? Cuz I’m ready to get blackballed by UFC…I’m not defined by it, you or anyone else for that matter.
"How’s that sound? Sincerely, your old employee – Marquel Martin."
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