Shields, a two-time gold medalist and undisputed boxing champion in two weight classes, suffered the first loss of her combat sports career this past Wednesday at the 2021 PFL Championships, dropping a split decision to Abigail Montes. It was Shields’ second MMA bout.
One of the voices quick to criticize Shields was YouTuber-turned-boxing attraction Jake Paul, who boasted that Shields had been “exposed” in her loss. Shields had previously stated she would never fight on a Paul undercard due to his lack of accomplishments in boxing compared to her own and Paul’s response has led to a continuation of the war of words.
Ahead of UFC 267 this weekend, White was asked what he thought of Paul’s comments and he reacted in disbelief.
“He better be careful, she might knock him out,” White told MMA Fighting’s Jose Youngs. “… So Jake Paul calls Claressa Shields a loser? Claressa Shields is nothing but a winner who actually fought real people in her weight class in her own age in her own sport and then goes over to MMA and tries to win a world title. That’s not a loser, that’s a winner, okay?
“When are you gonna start fighting somebody your own f*cking age, your own weight, that actually fights in your own f*cking sport that you’re claiming you’re in? Shut the f*ck up, you goofball. For you to call Claressa Shields a loser is f*cking unbelievable.”
#UFC president @DanaWhite went off on @JakePaul calling @Claressashields a "loser" after her first MMA loss:— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) October 29, 2021
"I hope he runs into her somewhere and she knocks him the f*ck out."
Watch full interview: https://t.co/QfeiyTypU7 pic.twitter.com/31I2Pjwg5a
Regarding Shields taking her first MMA loss, White praised her for taking the risk of crossing over into a new sport.
“Nothing but respect for Claressa Shields,” White said. “To be looked at as the best female boxer and to come over here and start training and start to do this, not easy and nothing but respect for her. She lost a split decision? Which is even more impressive, in her second fight she loses a split decision, which means one of the judges thought she won the fight.
“Nothing but respect for her and she should just keep plugging along and keep training and doing what she’s doing. Obviously, she’s a very talented, gifted athlete. Crazy that anybody’s saying anything to her, that’s ridiculous.”
When White was told that Shields has actually threatened to knock Paul out, he was all in on the suggestion.
“I hope he runs into her somewhere and she knocks him the f*ck out,” White said.
Shields later acknowledged White’s comments on Twitter, simply writing, “Truth.”