Coach: UFC was aware of Ngannou's knee injury
Francis Ngannou's head coach says the UFC knew the heavyweight champion was injured heading into his title defense against Ciryl Gane.
Ngannou fully tore his MCL and damaged his ACL about three weeks before his unanimous decision win over Gane, which headlined UFC 270 this past weekend.
"They knew about it," coach Eric Nicksick told Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour" on Monday. "Yeah, they knew about it."
However, the promotion didn't ask if Ngannou's team wanted to reschedule the fight.
"They're not going to do us any favors," Nicksick said.
Nicksick seemed to be alluding to Ngannou's shaky relationship with the UFC. Ngannou fought Gane on the last bout of his current contract after failing to reach a new deal ahead of the event. However, he remains under contract with the promotion because of the champion's clause.
UFC president Dana White didn't wrap the belt around Ngannou's waist after his victory and didn't attend the postfight press conference as is customary following a big event.
Nicksick added that most of Ngannou's team - including himself, manager Marquel Martin, and coach Dewey Cooper - thought he should withdraw from the Gane fight due to the injury. But Ngannou, who saw a doctor in California immediately upon his arrival last Tuesday, insisted on staying on the card.
Ngannou said Saturday at the postfight press conference that he'll likely need surgery.
"The Predator," one of the biggest knockout artists in UFC history, surprisingly used a wrestling-heavy approach to defeat Gane, who held the interim heavyweight title. It was the first decision victory of Ngannou's professional MMA career.