Jake Paul has been very active in calling out MMA fighters since entering the boxing arena, and it did not escape the public’s attention who his first opponent was: someone widely considered to be a one-dimensional fighter, Ben Askren. Anyone who has watched Ben Askren compete in MMA could take a stab in the dark that the dimension he is known for is not his striking. On the contrary, the Olympic wrestler has been known to use his funky wrestling style and grappling skills to control, suffocate, and finish his opponents on the mat.
Being that Askren has retired from MMA, Dana White had no issue granting him permission to box Jake Paul, even though Askren is still under contract with the UFC. If Askren were still active in Bellator, Coker would have also said yes, but then Paul would have had to reciprocate. Because according to the Bellator boss, that’s the only way he would do business with either Paul brother.
“Listen, I have a lot of respect for those guys,” Coker told MMA Fighting about the Paul brothers. “They definitely are disruptors. They’ve built a nice business for themselves. But it has to be fair. And what I mean by that is, look, we are in the business of mixed martial arts, right? So if you want to come fight one of our guys and you want to fight a grappler or a wrestler so you have the advantage, well, that’s fine. I respect that. But then, you have to come fight our guy in MMA, too, because that’s what they do. Our fighters are not just boxers. They are mixed martial artists. So if it’s an even playing field, we’ll participate. And that’s really how I feel that it should go down.
“Now if they’re two boxers and they choose to fight each other, that’s a different story. But how I feel is if you want to just keep fighting the grapplers and the wrestlers, then there has to be something that’s equitable for us, which is maybe a rematch in mixed martial arts.”
Coker believes this is not an unreasonable request and that the Paul brothers are capable of competing in MMA because of their wrestling background and due to the fact that they are willing and able to spar and get hit by high-level fighters. Bellator submission artist Dillon Danis has been calling out Paul for a fight, but he fits the Askren mold of not being generally respected for his striking skills. Thus, Paul would have to fight Danis in MMA after competing against him in boxing if this is who Paul selected to be his next foe.
Jake Paul has stated that he will look to box a traditional striker in his next bout, so perhaps the “reciprocity clause” will not be needed if he opts to box a Bellator athlete. Indeed, Paul is free to call out any Bellator striker he wants, and Coker will be very open to the idea.
Jake Paul vs. Michael “Venom” Page, anyone?
Is there a Bellator fighter you would like to see Jake Paul box?