‘I’ll slap him’: Ex-champ Cormier in furious exchange with Jake Paul at UFC 261 as Dana White condemns ‘circus’ (VIDEO)
Paul's fledgling combat sports career continued this month when he knocked out former UFC fighter Ben Askren in a fight which Triller say generated a bountiful pay-per-view audience, but it was clear that the 23-year-old hasn't quite found himself in the good graces of the UFC fraternity.
Chants of "F*ck Jake Paul" could be heard break out during the featured prelim fight between Randy Brown and Alex Oliveira, with commentator Joe Rogan noting the tepid reaction - before co-commentator Cormier announcing on the broadcast that he had just had a confrontation with Paul, and that the two had been exchanging social media messages in the days after Paul's first-round knockout of Askren.
Daniel Cormier online “Imma Smack Jake Paul when I see him”Daniel Cormier in person... 🤔 pic.twitter.com/zHnssneYBV— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) April 25, 2021
Jake Paul having a near death experience pic.twitter.com/6D67CthAlt— As Shopped As It Gets (@AsShopped) April 25, 2021
"I just saw Jake Paul and I pointed at him and said don’t play with me,” said Cormier. "'Cause I’ll smack him in the face. He’s right there. I’ll slap [him]. I don’t play those games, Joe."
Speaking in the post-fight press conference, UFC boss White broke one of his own cardinal rules when he was asked about Paul - a fighter not under contract to him - and said that while he respects Paul's ability to generate box office money, he says his combat career is little more than a "freak show".
"This kid’s done a good job of putting himself in a place to make some money," White admitted.
"Good for him, he’s got you guys talking about him all the time, 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 30lbs less than him and I don’t even know what do think about the Askren thing.
"The whole thing is f*cking mind boggling to me, but good for him, grab that money while you can kid."
I just know DC talked to him like his son. 😂 Wish I could have heard it.— Absin (@AbsinAstro) April 25, 2021
His blood pressure was through the roof, man's was terrified— buskya (@buskya2) April 25, 2021
His bottom lip is going like a sorry little boy— Adam j Simpson (@AdamStrongo) April 25, 2021
Paul claimed in the aftermath of his fight with Askren that the event had generated a massive 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, leading to a bonanza of $75 million for the Triller-promoted fight.
White, though, is sceptical of those numbers.
"Nah, I don’t know if the numbers are there," he said when asked about Paul's promotional pull.
"Do you even know what would happen to this guy? He ain’t fighting in the UFC. You’re getting me talking about this f*cking guy again!
"You’re getting hand-picked opponents and God knows what else is going on with that whole f*cking thing.Also on rt.com Kamaru Usman OBLITERATES Jorge Masvidal with massive KO in welterweight title clash at UFC 261 (VIDEO)
"There is a market for that. That’s not what I do. People wanna see that, this kid’s gonna make a couple bucks before this ride’s over, and it’s just not what I do.
"And the numbers that you’re hearing that they did are full of sh*t, they’re full of sh*t. They didn’t pull those kind of numbers at all, not even f*cking close.
"I don’t believe anything they say, that’s a f*cking circus. I built a real business here, a real sport. That’s a freak show."