Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane are about to face each other in the heavyweight unification bout very soon. Apart from being champions, both the fighters have a thing in common which is, they come from the same gym, MMA Factory.
Fernand Lopez, who is the head coach at the MMA factory, the gym that bred killers like Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane talks about his problem with the heavyweight champion. Fernand was the old coach of Francis and the current coach of Ciryl. Lopez feels like “The Predator” has not credited his coach his dues. According to Lopez, he was the one that molded Francis and he just wants the credits of helping Francis build his career.
“Before going out with this, I went there to speak with Francis. Like Francis, is this normal? I was wondering is there any problem? We spent five years together in my gym. You never pay anything, everything is free for you,” Lopez told MMAFighting.com. “I took you under my wing, took care of you, everything. What’s so bad for you? What is so hard for you to say is that ‘Fernand Lopez brought me the UFC contract.’ Why would you say to a journalist, they ask you how you got to to the UFC and you’re like ‘I was just fighting, I was winning fights and I got the call from the UFC.’”
Fernand Lopez says he helped Francis Ngannou get a UFC contract
Francis and his coach split ways after his loss to former champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 in 2018. Francis lost the fight via decision and he later became a part of the Xtreme Couture gym. Francis has publicly said that it was not his true self that fought in the first fight with Miocic. Francis later avenged his loss in 2021 to become the champion. But coach Lopez wants the credit for getting Francis a UFC contract in the first place.
“Is there something wrong cause do you remember the story? Do you remember me fighting to get you in the UFC when you were 3-1? Then Joe Silva said no. When you were 4-1 when you were 5-1 and I eventually called a friend of mine and [work] with him in order to get you into the UFC. Do you remember that? I called you and said ‘Hey Francis, happy birthday,’ and I said I have a present for you and [Ngannou] ask me ‘Oh you bought me the computer coach?’ And I said no, I have [something] even better than a computer. He said ‘What is that?’ I said, ‘I have your UFC contract,’” he said.