UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou was left baffled after Dana White skipped his traditional slot at the post-fight press conference after failing to show inside the octagon after his victory.
The UFC President has been drawn into a war of words with the 35-year-old over his future in the promotion, with Ngannou planning to move into boxing with eyes on Tyson Fury.
Ngannou headlined UFC 270 against interim champion Ciryl Gane at the Honda Center, California on Saturday evening, winning on the judges score cards for the first time in his career.
However, it wasn't White who would enter the octagon to wrap the belt back around the champion, with UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Mick Maynard doing the honours.
Furthermore, White did not attend the post-fight presser as he usually does after numbered cards, and Ngannou was none the wiser over either of the decisions.
He said when asked why White didn't hand him the belt or speak to the media: "I don't know, you'd have to ask him."
Adding of his own future: "I didn't have anything to do with that, it was their decision and I want to ask about that.
"It's been a long time I've been wondering about my future in the company so I'm still in the same position.
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"It's not simply about money; money is a part of it but it is also the terms of the contract, I don't feel like it's fair and I don't feel like I'm free.
"It's unfortunate I have to be in this position but I think everyone should have the right to claim what is best for them.
"We put a lot of work into this job and we take a lot on our bodies to make it happen so we should have a fair and square deal."
While it is tradition for the contract of the champion to be extended after they win a bout, Ngannou would be free to purse his boxing dream from 2023 – or maybe even sooner.
White told EPSN earlier this month: "My philosophy has always been, 'Listen, if you don’t want to be with us? That’s not fun for anybody.' So, we’ll see how this fight plays out and we’ll see where we go from here.
“Like I said – I’ve been saying this now for two weeks – I ran into him two weeks ago at a restaurant and, literally, our tables were right next to each other.
"So, the universe kinda got us together and we talked and we had a good conversation."
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