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Dana White responds to Ben Askren, critics of CM Punk signing

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The response to the UFC's recent signing of former WWE star CM Punk has been decidedly mixed, with some fans and fighters celebrating the eyes Punk will undoubtedly to the UFC, and others decrying the sideshow element of allowing an untested 0-0 fighter a free ticket into the big leagues. Safe to say UFC President Dana White has heard both sides of the argument, and he understands where detractors of the decision are coming from.

"Some people love it, some people hate it," White told UFC.com. "The people who are opposed to it and bitching about it, I get it. Every fight that we do isn't going to be everybody's thing, but there will be people who want to watch him and those that don't.

"He and I have become friends," White added, "And he told me, ‘I've achieved some cool things in my life and I want to try the UFC. It's not like I'm young enough to fight my way up in the smaller leagues. I'd like to come in and give it a shot and see what I got."

Perhaps the most vocal critic of Punk's signing has been Ben Askren, the undefeated ONE FC welterweight champion whose attempts to sign with the UFC last year were spurned by promotion officials. Askren was infamously told to collect more experience before joining the UFC, and he wasted little time pointing out the insincerity of that statement after Punk's announcement.

"The thing is with Ben Askren is that Ben Askren doesn't really want to fight here, in my opinion," White said in response. "People that are close to him say the same thing. The guy is making a ton of money to fight nobodies, but when you talk and you say a lot of things it keeps your name out there. Trust me when I tell you this, Ben Askren does not want to fight in the UFC. Believe me when I tell you that."