Coach Fernand Lopez Says Dana White Was Telling The Truth About Francis Ngannou Having An Ego Problem
If you thought Dana White was just throwing Francis Ngannou under the bus after his loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 226, you might want to think again.
Speaking at the UFC 226 post-fight press conference, White stated that Ngannou’s ego was “out of control” and that “his ego ran away with him.” One man Ngannou’s corner that night was his coach, Fernand Lopez who has worked with the former UFC title challenger since he began training MMA in Paris in August 2013. Surprising, speaking to MMANews.pl earlier today, Lopez confirmed White’s comments and said that the UFC president was, in fact, accurate with his statements.
“The only thing I can say is Dana was speaking about Francis’ ego is probably one of the truths that I witnessed that Dana White said,” Lopez said. “It’s probably the only truth that I know for a fact, that’s a fact. Why am I saying that? I’m saying that because Ngannou is like a brother for me and when you’re dealing with a brother, problems with your brother, you have to be honest with your brother so he can be a better man.
“In order to make Francis a better man, there are some people that have to have the bad role. The bad job is to tell Ngannou ‘You have a big ego and you have changed with the time.’ That’s the truth. I had the conversation with Ngannou and I said to him ‘You have changed my friend, you have changed. You’re not the same anymore. Your ego is killing you and it’s just about your ego.’ That’s the thing like.”
Prior to his fight with Lewis at UFC 226, Ngannou trained for the fight under coach John Wood at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. Lopez said Ngannou not following the gameplan they’d worked on was the cause of his loss to Miocic in January and then pointed at the fact he was training at Syndicate for the Lewis fight,
“All the time he was in Vegas he was still in my team,” Lopez said. “He never left the team, the membership. Every time he was asked if he was an MMA Factory member he didn’t let me down on that. He was always saying that. The only problem was, there’s never been a problem between us. During the last fight, we decided to make the camp with Syndicate MMA because the gym was close to the UFC Institute. So for his last fight, his mentor was John Wood of Syndicate. He called and said to me and asked me if I could come and assist him as a friend and as an assistant coach, which made sense and that was a good thing. But what I’m saying is the ego can make you go the wrong way and hurt people.
“Myself I got hurt with a lot of dedication to Francis’ career, I got hurt, a lot. When Francis lost the fight with Stipe, no one ever heard Francis say he lost because he didn’t follow the gameplan. He did the opposite of the gameplan that we worked. That loss for Francis, for the belt, had a huge impact for him, but also myself and my gym. Francis being world champion means that I’m a champion coach and that means the MMA Factory is a champion training camp. We missed that because he did not follow the gameplan. He followed the gameplans until the title shot and then the next fight (against Lewis) he was in Syndicate MMA.”
Lopez went on to explain that he was hurt by the fact that Ngannou did publically defend him after the loss to Miocic. Despite the rumours flying around after the fight that said Ngannou hadn’t been working on his ground game prior to the fight, Lopez denied them and said it was actually a focal point of the training camp that they didn’t want put out in front of the public eye.
“When all these people are saying what a bad coach I am, it would’ve been nice for Francis to back me up and say ‘No guys, this guy did his job, this guy tried to help me with the best gameplan that he could and he gave me the thing that I should do and I didn’t do that,” Lopez continued. “Instead of saying that he just stayed quiet and people were killing us saying how stupid could I be to just keep training Francis on the feet and not on the wrestling and not the ground game.
“This is just crazy because the MMA Factory was building Francis a lot time ago and for this and the wrestling and the ground game was taking almost 80-percent of his training, but because whenever the television come in the gym we were showcasing everything on the pads because it looked good for TV. We didn’t show Francis struggling or sharing the thing that he’s working on, on the ground. We only just showed to everyone what he was good at so they didn’t see any weakness in Francis, but actually, we were working so hard. We were taking all the best ground game guys in France.
“We lost the fight as a team, as a team, we lost the fight,” Lopez continued. “There’s a fault of mine in losing the Stipe fight because it’s the team losing the fight. I don’t want to say only Francis lost that fight, but Francis didn’t follow the gameplan and it was up to himself to say he didn’t follow the gameplan.”
You can watch the full interview: