JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jake Paul found a way to keep himself at the forefront of the MMA consciousness when he showed up at UFC 261 on Saturday.
Paul, a YouTube star-turned-boxer, knocked out former Bellator and ONE Championship titleholder and ex-UFC fighter Ben Askren in Triller’s first pay-per-view eight days ago. He also recently talked smack about former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier on a podcast.
That led Cormier to leave the broadcast booth before the UFC 261 main card at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., to get in Paul’s face. The confrontation quickly went viral.
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But don’t spend too much time wondering if Cormier might come out of retirement to box Paul, or if UFC president Dana White would take part in any kind of promotion of something involving Paul.
“This kid’s done a good job of putting himself in a place to make some money,” White told MMA Junkie after UFC 261. “Good for him. He’s got (the media) talking about him all the time and asking questions about him, got Daniel Cormier running after him – so he’s doing something right.
“He knocked out an NBA guy who was 40 years old and 30 pounds less than him, and I don’t even know what to think about the Askren thing. The whole thing is f**king mind-boggling to me. But hey, good for him. Grab that money while you can, kid.”
When MMA Junkie asked White if he’d be interested in doing business with Paul, given the reported pay-per-view buys his fight with Askren did for Triller in Atlanta, White was, for the most part, dismissive.
“The numbers are there? Nah. I don’t know if the numbers are there,” White said. “Do you know what would happen to this guy (in the UFC)? He ain’t fighting in the UFC. He’s getting hand-picked opponents, and God knows what else is going on with that whole f**king thing.
“There is a market for that. That is not what I do. That’s not what I do. People want to see that, and it’s great, and this kid’s going to make a couple bucks before this ride is over. It’s just not what I do. What I do is what happened tonight. What happened tonight is, we sold this place out and it was packed, and the numbers that you’re hearing (Triller) did – they’re full of s**t. They’re full of s**t. OK? They didn’t pull those kind of numbers at all – not even f**king close. What happened here tonight is what I do: The best vs. the best.”