UFC president Dana White is being pressed with questions lately about Jake Paul just as much as the top MMA stars he promotes.
The YouTuber-turned-professional boxer Paul made a name for himself knocking out the first three opponents he’s faced in fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, former NBA star Nate Robinson and former UFC veteran and ONE champion Ben Askren.
He’s also made headlines questioning how little White pays MMA fighters.
When asked if Paul owns real estate in White's head, the executive said the ballyhoo is expected.
“Nah. Listen, that's all part of the business,” White told the Full Send Podcast. “You want to get noticed? You want to stir up some sh!t? Start a fight with me. That's how you do it.
“Yes [he impressed me with the Askren victory.] He knocked Askren out with one f------ punch … I thought Askren should have done better than he did.”
Last Sunday, Paul took on another UFC star in former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in a Showtime pay-per-view bout in Cleveland.
This time around, Paul faced adversity when he was rocked in the fourth round and fought his way to an eight round split decision win.
White said Paul needs to fight actual boxers to prove that he has real pugilistic talent.
“In the gym, he trains with plenty of boxers. So there’s a reason he’s not fighting boxers. He wants to keep fighting these retired UFC f------- wrestlers,” said White.
The conversation also covered the topic of White and Paul potentially working together.
“I just don’t see it happening. I don’t hate the kid. Is he f------- annoying? Yeah, he’s annoying. He’s out there trying to make that money, and his shelf life is very f------- short," White said.
“Listen, I never say never, but I highly doubt [working with Paul]. It’s just not what I do. There’s a market for that. He could fight a different type of celebrity every week, and there’s going to be a segment of the population that wants to pay for that and see it, but that’s not what I do. I put the best against the best.
“The media isn’t really following him as much as they did in the beginning. The schtick is getting old. I think for him to get the media back, he’s gonna have to fight somebody. They’re tired of the schtick. ‘Hey, it’s me, I weigh 190, and I want to fight these guys that weigh 170, 155, and they’re wrestling, and they’re 40 f------ years old, and they haven’t won a fight in three f------- years.’
“If he wants to be taken seriously now by the real media, I think he needs to fight a real fight.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com