You’ve probably seen it by now, but this past weekend had no shortage of odd moments at UFC 261. One such moment was a brief verbal spat between online personality turned boxer Jake Paul and former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
It didn’t take long, but was quickly on social media and got a bit of incitement from the crowd. Considering the fact that Paul had previously called out Cormier only to be rebuffed and mocked by Cormier, and that Paul decided to go even harder down that road, something had to happen when they were present at the same venue. And MMA being MMA, there’s no way this was going to be swept under the rug and forgotten in short order.
And on this week’s edition of DC & Helwani, Cormier expanded on the incident and what took place.
Now, nobody really invited Cormier over. He perceived a slight due to some of Paul’s antics from the crowd and decided to give the young whippersnapper a piece of his mind. And now he wants to give the prankster turned pugilist some form of comeuppance.
Here’s DC in his own words regarding the matter (starting at the 53:28 mark):
Cormier: So I was sitting at the table and somebody said “Oh, Jake Paul’s here”. So I look behind me, and there and he’s like making faces at me, waving at me. He’s like (gestures, makes a face) waving at me. I’m like “What in the world is happening? What is happening?”
Helwani: In the middle of the broadcast?
Cormier: Well, yeah. A 24-year-old kid is like, he’s heckling me.
Cormier: Hes like a troll, but like a famous troll. So finally I get a break and I was like “Hey, do I have a couple of minutes?“ They were like “No.“ I said “Guys, I need a few minutes real quick“.
And they said “OK, you got two minutes right now,“ my producer said “you got two minutes.“ So I just got up and I went over there. I went over there and, um...
Helwani: You didn’t tell them where you were going? You decided to just...
Cormier: No, I just told them I needed a couple of minutes. So I just went over there. Again, the whole time after he’s doing that, I’m just in mind, it’s all I can think about. It’s like “This guy’s being so ridiculous, I need to tell him something“. So I just walk over there, and he kinda leans in like we’re gonna have a conversation. And his hands are in his pocket. And I said “Hey, I’m not gonna play your games. Don’t mess with me. I’m not a kid to play with like this. I’m not gonna be on the internet, messing around and all this other stuff“
I go, “Keep my name out of your mouth.” And then security came and started kind of, once security came around he started kind of, once security came around he started to play the big boy a little bit.
Well, no. He played the game, he got ensnared, and now he’s picking a fight with a guy that doesn’t even fight real boxers but still manages to make more money than the vast majority of the UFC roster. That’s also got to sting.
Now, a few choice quotes curated from ESPN’s Marc Raimondi:
Cormier on Jake Paul: "I wanted to grab him by the face and smash him into the ground. But you can't do that at work. I would have gotten in trouble.” DC & Helwani live now: https://t.co/vis9rmGUDl— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 26, 2021
Cormier challenged Jake Paul to an MMA fight: "I'm going to torture him. I'm going to hurt him. I don't want to box him. I don't want to fight in a limited skill set of rules. If you really want to fight me, fight me in a mixed martial arts competition.”— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 26, 2021
Cormier: "I'm going to rip his face apart. I'm going to hurt the kid. I'm will teach these kids not to continue to do this with people like me — athletes. Ariel, I will hurt this kid. … I'm gonna choke him, I'm gonna elbow him. I'm gonna hurt him."— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 26, 2021
Cormier: "My name will not be used as a springboard. I love my legacy and I will protect my legacy. And if protecting my legacy means I gotta slap this kid upside his head, that's what I'll do."— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 26, 2021
“I wanted to grab him by the face and smash him into the ground. But you can’t do that at work. I would have gotten in trouble.”
“I’m going to torture him. I’m going to hurt him. I don’t want to box him. I don’t want to fight in a limited skill set of rules. If you really want to fight me, fight me in a mixed martial arts competition.”
“I’m going to rip his face apart. I’m going to hurt the kid. I’m will teach these kids not to continue to do this with people like me — athletes. Ariel, I will hurt this kid. … I’m gonna choke him, I’m gonna elbow him. I’m gonna hurt him.”
“My name will not be used as a springboard. I love my legacy and I will protect my legacy. And if protecting my legacy means I gotta slap this kid upside his head, that’s what I’ll do.”
Like it or not, Cormier fell for low-effort trolling and now wants to have a fight as an aged former champion against a fighter with literally no MMA experience under his belt. Will he change his mind and settle for a boxing match instead? Will the UFC finally sign Paul, something he’s been demanding for some time? Or is that Triller money too good a deal for Paul to deign stepping into the Octagon? Rest assured this isn’t over by a long shot.
Say what you will about Paul, the guy knows how to set some bait.