Francis Ngannou breaks silence after being stripped of UFC HW title with Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane to fight for belt

FRANCIS NGANNOU has broken his social media silence following his release from the UFC.

The Cameroonian-born Frenchman became a free agent last December following the expiration of his contract with MMA‘s premier promotion, although there were intense negotiations over a new deal.

Francis Ngannou was released from the UFC last weekendGETTY

The promotion’s former heavyweight champion is now a free agentGETTY

TWITTERNgannou broke his silence with a apt tribute to the late Martin Luther King Jr[/caption]

But both parties failed to reach an amicable agreement over a bumper new deal – which prompted the UFC to relinquish his services and end his reign as heavyweight champion.

Former pound-for-pound king Jon Jones will challenge Ciryl Gane for Ngannou’s old belt at UFC 285 on March 4.

Ngannou has yet to address his exit from the UFC, although he posted a somewhat fitting video to his Instagram and Twitter pages on Monday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr Day in the USA.

In the video, the late Civil Rights activist said: “Free at last, Free at last.

“Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

The clip was undoubtedly in tribute to the late Dr King, who was instrumental in African Americans gaining the right to vote and ending segregation.

But it was somewhat apt as prior to his UFC departure, Ngannou repeatedly expressed his desire to have more “freedom” in his contract with the promotion.

UFC president Dana White hasn’t lamented Ngannou’s departure from the organisation.

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In fact, the veteran promoter has claimed The Predator turned down a lucrative offer which would’ve made him the company’s “highest-paid heavyweight” ever.

He said: “We’ve been negotiating with [Ngannou] for more than two years.

“We offered Francis a deal that would’ve made him the highest-paid heavyweight in the history of the company.

“More than [Brock] Lesnar, more than anybody, and he turned the deal down.

“Francis is in a place now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risk.

“He feels like he’s in a position where he could fight lesser opponents and make more money.

“So we’re going to let him do that and release him from our contract.

“He can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants.”

Ngannou is set to speak at length on his UFC departure this evening in an interview with veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.

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