Despite Dana White pulling the trigger on trading Ben Askren for Demetrious Johnson last year, it seems he still isn’t too fond of “Funky.” That’s according to Askren himself, who says he still hasn’t spoken to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president.
“Dana doesn’t talk to me, we don’t deal with each other at all. I haven't even talked to him at all,” he explained on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
Askren and White do have a bitter past, as both men have traded barbs toward one another for the better part of five years. According to White, however, he doesn’t have an issue with the powerhouse wrestler anymore and trading for him should be more than enough proof of that.
“Oh my God! This is crazy! It’s like Colby Covington saying this too. I don’t know what I do to people to make them think I hate them,” said White during the UFC 235 post-fight presser. “That dude is nuts,” added White with a smile. “That’s crazy, he’s never asked me for 30 minutes of my time. Ever. I’ve never turned down a fighter that asked me if we can talk. Even Tito (Ortiz). Never done it, never.”
To hear Ben tell it, Dana’s actions toward him say otherwise.
“Listen, I don’t know what this guy has against me, but he obviously had something against me in 2013 and it’s pretty obvious, even though he tries to say he doesn’t, he does now. His body language and actions speak one way, even though his words speak another. His disdain for me after the fight Saturday night was so palpable you could almost touch it,” said Askren.
“I don’t know what his problem is, I really don’t. I have tried multiple times now to sit down with him and have reasonable conversations with him to ask what his issue with me is, and he won’t even sit down with me.”
After Askren defeated Robbie Lawler in his UFC debut this past Saturday night (March 2, 2019) at UFC 235 (see it again here), White did reveal booking an instant rematch is his preference given that the fight ended in controversy. “Funky,” though, is doubling down on his preference to move on to someone else.
“No, I didn’t want to fight Robbie in the first place. Listen, I’m sorry that Dana’s guy didn’t win, and he’s pouting about it right now and he wants to run it back, but we’re just not going to do that,” he said.
“I didn’t want to fight him in the first place. How does that benefit me? If I beat him again, I’m not really in a better spot than I am right now. I’m in a spot right now where I can have a whole bunch of new fights. Me and Colby, you can put me and (Darren) Till together, it will be a huge fight. So why do I want to go take a fight, that I already won fairly and squarely?”
White insists he was very impressed with Ben’s toughness after eating several of Robbie’s punches and is eager to see him back inside the cage. That said, Askren’s preference is to face the winner of the upcoming 170-pound collision between Till and Jorge Masvidal, who are set to headline the upcoming UFC Fight Night 147 event on March 16, 2019 in London, England.
And “Funky” already has his plane ticket booked to attend.