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Ngannou, Cash App partner despite UFC's deal

By Adam Stern

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has become the latest athlete to announce that he will take part of his upcoming salary in Bitcoin via a partnership with Cash App, and that comes despite the fact that Crypto.com is the property’s official partner in that category. Ngannou made the announcement this afternoon on Twitter, where he said he will take half of his purse from his main-event fight this weekend at UFC 270 at Honda Center versus Ciryl Gane and convert it into Bitcoin. UFC tells SBJ that it is not involved in the promotion, so Ngannou will apparently take the purse paid to him by UFC in fiat dollars and then have Cash App convert it separately. It is not yet clear if the California state athletic commission will approve of the move to have a fighter paid in crypto currency or if it would even have jurisdiction to stop it. That one of UFC’s most visible fighters is doing a crypto endorsement with Cash App could be seen as a missed activation opportunity for Crypto.com because it signed a 10-year $175M deal with UFC last year.

Ngannou said he and Cash App are giving away $300,000 in Bitcoin as part of the announcement to users who replied with their Cash App handle and the #PaidInBitcoin hashtag, and that garnered more than 27,000 replies to the tweet and made it the No. 1 trend on Twitter in America as of press time. Ngannou is represented by CAA agent Marquel Martin. Martin tweeted: “Proud of my brother for continuing to be a leader in the space. Thank you @CashApp for believing in Francis and his goal to help people and support mass adoption of #Bitcoin.”

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