Dana White talks middleweight title picture and not betting on Ben Askren

In an interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, UFC president Dana White spoke on an array of recent events that took place within the combat sports community this past weekend.

White addressed Robert Whittaker’s impressive unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24 and who would be next in line to challenge UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya for the belt.

White agreed with Bronsteter that a rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker makes the most sense.

“A hundred percent,” White said. “That’s gonna all determine on, you know, what are these guys got going on in their personal life? If we can make that fight, then that’s the fight we’ll make. If not, we’ll do Vettori.”

White also said that fight is likely to happen sooner than later, as Adesanya is keen on making a return to the octagon in the near future.

“I think Israel’s ready. I think Israel wants to fight this Summer. He wants to fight over there [in New Zealand or Australia], which we want too. I’d love to have a fight in Australia or New Zealand. But they’re still on lockdown over there. I can’t go over there and quarantine all my people. So hopefully they open up or we figure something else out somewhere else.”

After he addressed the state of the middleweight division, White talked about the controversial faceoff that took place between the lightweight bout between Jeremy Stephens and Drakkar Klose that was supposed to serve as the co-main event for UFC Vegas 24.

Stephens gave Klose a hard shove which led to Klose suffering a concussion and a cervical sprain as a result of whiplash.

White attributed that to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby not being close enough to separate the two fighters.

“Sean Shelby missed that one. Sean, and I see the thing differently, I saw it on social media and called him immediately. I was at my daughter’s– I was in Orlando at the ESPN cheerleading competition. I saw the thing happen on social media,” White said. “I called Sean, I was like, Dude, where was your head on that one? You know, he was coming in hot and it’s Jeremy Stephens. He’s a savage. I mean, yeah, that’s we’re not standing there to look good and take pictures. We’re there to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Jorge Masvidal not worried about ‘coward’ Kamaru Usman in UFC 261 rematch

White also touched on the fact that he did not bet $2 million on Ben Askren against Snoop Dogg.

At the end of the Triller pay-per-view boxing spectacle headlined by YouTube sensation Jake Paul and former two-time MMA world champion and former UFC contender Ben Askren, Snoop Dogg was calling on Dana White to pay him for a supposed bet.

White asserted prior to the event that he was not going to take an even bet when he could get two to one odds betting legally.

“Not only was I not going to take even money when I could bet it legally, I’m not going to bet illegally number one. Just so we’re clear, and the IRS and everybody else knows I did not make a bet for a million or two million dollars, that I would not ever make an illegal bet,” White said. “Number two, yes, I can bet it legally in Las Vegas or with DraftKings at two to one [odds]. Why would I take that back? So no, I did not bet.”

While hindsight will always be 20/20, one could assume White was certainly happy that he did not take that bet after watching Askren get knocked out by Paul in the first round.