TYSON FURY has been slammed for the "dumbest idea in sports history" after calling out Francis Ngannou to a hybrid-rules fight.
Ngannou is now a free agent having walked out on the UFC, while still heavyweight champion, after failing to agree a new contract.
And it has cleared the pathway to realising his long-standing dream of a career in boxing.
Fury, 34, proposed a hybrid bout against Ngannou, 36, including a fight with smaller 4oz gloves in the cage but under boxing rules.
Although ex-UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen, 45, has ridiculed the idea.
He said on his YouTube channel: “I see Tyson Fury come out over the weekend and finally clear up first what we’re going to do first with Francis.
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“They’ve always said they’re going to make up a sport. These two were going to do a game, but they were going to do something combat related.
"For reasons unknown, they weren’t going to box. Francis offered to box, and for reasons unknown, Tyson did not accept that invitation, and they were going to make up rules.
“Tyson finally laid out for us what they are. They were going to fight in a cage. I have no idea why. They’re going to fight in a cage. OK, fine.
"They’re going to wear 4oz gloves. I have no idea why, but OK, fine. They are then going to follow boxing rules, the rules of Queensberry.
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“I put this out there because of how disappointing it is to see these boxers as beggers.
"Guys that are hot to fight to go out there and get it on your own, that have physical capabilities that other men can only dream of.
"But they don’t know how to go out there and get it on their own. They just don’t know how.
"I bring it to you because to watch Tyson Fury beg, it was surprising. I don’t want to call it disappointing.
"It was really close to calling it that, but I don’t want to call it that.
I bring it to you because to watch Tyson Fury beg, it was surprising. I don’t want to call it disappointing.
"So Tyson comes to us with perhaps the dumbest idea in sports history, perhaps. He knows it is.”
Fury is currently in talks for the heavyweight division's first four-belt undisputed title decider with Oleksandr Usyk, 36.
But as negotiations drag on, the Gypsy King is lining up Ngannou as a blockbuster alternative.
He told Seconds Out: “Francis Ngannou, I know you’re out of contract with the UFC. You want to earn some big boy money?
"Come see the Gypsy King and let’s do a big, big fight for the baddest MF on the planet.
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“Let’s kick it up spicy, in a cage, four-ounce gloves under Queensbury [rules] and let’s have a badass referee like Iron Mike Tyson.
"Did I just sell that to the world? If the contract doesn’t get signed with Usyk next for the fight of the century in boxing then we’ll do the Ngannou fight."
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