Retired UFC star Ben Askren has revealed that he had to ask permission from Dana White in order to get the green light for his Jake Paul fight.
Askren and Paul are set to lock horns in an eight-round boxing fight on April 17 as the YouTuber attempts to continue his rise to prominence in combat sports.
During a recent interview, however, Askren made it clear that the whole thing could’ve come crashing down if Dana White didn’t approve it, due to Askren still technically being under a UFC contract.
“He does not seem to like Jake Paul too much, that’s seeming to be totally true,” Askren told MMA Junkie. “We had a nice phone call. Probably the most cordial phone call Dana and I have ever had. … Both Dana and Hunter (Campbell) were relatively easy. They didn’t really have many complaints. They signed off on pretty much – there was some annoyingness with (promoter) Triller was looking at a whole bunch of different dates, so I had to get a bunch of different dates approved, so that was kind of difficult a little bit, but besides that, everything was all smooth.”
When Paul was asked about the fight, he spoke candidly about why he decided Askren was the right man to face off against.
“Ben Askren is a two-time NCAA champion, a world champion in two different global mixed martial arts organizations and has less losses on his record than Conor McGregor,” Paul told ESPN after the fight was announced.
“Me, on the other hand, I started boxing two years ago and I’m still going to knock his ass out faster than Masvidal. These MMA guys think because they throw punches they know how to box. The world complained because I knocked out a basketball player and not a real fighter. So now I’m giving the people what they want by taking on a ‘real fighter.’ After Ben Askren is added to my knockout meme collection, what can anybody say? Thank you to Triller Fight Club for giving me the platform to once again put a man to sleep. April 17, it’s lights out for Askren.”