Ben Askren once called Dana White a scumbag, UFC president labelled him ‘most boring fighter ever’ but now are buddies thanks to Jake Paul
Ben Askren has endured a rocky relationship with Dana White in recent years, but the pair appear to have patched things up.
The reason for that… well it seems to be a mutual loathing of YouTuber Jake Paul – the ‘f****** YouTube kid’.
Ex-UFC star Askren takes on Paul in the boxing ring on Saturday in Georgia to settle their much-hyped but controversial feud.
White thinks so little of Paul’s ability he was even willing to bet $1million that Askren would knock him out.
The YouTuber offered to double White’s bet to $2million, such was his confidence that he would beat the former Bellator champion.
White’s backing of Askren would have seemed unimaginable once upon a time. He never showed this much confidence in him during his MMA career.
Askren was a former college wrestling star who went on to compete at the 2008 Olympics before making his MMA debut in 2009.
Just 18 months after his first fight, and seven wins later, he became Bellator’s welterweight champion and defended his title five times.
The first time White appears to have clashed with Askren was in a tweet back in 2012 where he responded to a claim made by the fighter.
Askren accused White of being a ‘bold faced liar’ for saying the UFC doesn’t have the resources for random drug tests.
In response, the UFC president said: “When ambien sleeps it takes Ben Askren. Most boring fighter in MMA history. I would rather watch flys f***.”
Askren moved from Bellator to ONE Championship in 2014 and quickly won the welterweight title.
He defended his title numerous times and kept his unbeaten record. Somebody who remains undefeated is sure to get plenty of attention from the UFC, but Askren’s relationship with White appeared to be the sticking point.
The former Olympian seemed to be happy not have a UFC contract.
In 2017, Askren told MMAWeekly: “For me, the biggest benefit (of not being in the UFC) is not having to work with Dana White. That guys is a freaking scumbag.
“Even if he paid me triple what I’m earning here, which is a boatload of money, I can’t see myself working for him.
“He’s just a terrible person all round.”
Askren was eventually brought to the UFC in 2019 when he was traded to the promotion with Demetrious Johnson heading to ONE Championship.
The two appeared to be pally on stage, with their arms around each other. But the facade did not last long.
Askren refused to shake Dana White’s hand at the UFC 235 weigh-in and appeared to exchange a choice word or two.
He would go on to beat Robbie Lawler in that fight, but went on to lose his undefeated record the next time he stepped into the octagon.
Askren was knocked out in just five seconds by Jorge Masvidal following a sickening knee to the head at UFC 239 in 2019.
A second loss just a few months later, to Demian Maia, saw him announce his retirement from the sport.
But the two appear to have put their differences aside as White hopes the 36-year-old can do him a favour in knocking out Paul.
The UFC president even linked him up with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
“Dana White becoming my friend after all this has been very interesting. I don’t hold grudges… I appreciate his help. He hooked me up with Freddie, who has been great,” said Askren in a recent interview.
“I was getting in the shower one day and Dana called me and I was like, ‘Oh s***!’ and he was like, ‘Kick his a**,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh okay, sweet, this is cool, let’s do it.’”
In a separate interview with YouTuber The Schmo, he said: “Dana is my buddy now. It’s funny how circumstances bring people together sometimes.
“Even when the UFC traded for me, Dana and I weren’t buddy buddies necessarily.
“Now he really wants me to beat up Jake Paul, so he kind of hooked it up.”