Tyron Woodley’s message to Jake Paul is a simple one: We had a deal.
Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of Woodley’s blockbuster boxing debut against Paul, which he lost via split decision, the former UFC welterweight champion appeared on The MMA Hour and called on Paul to honor his end of the new bargain the two fighters agreed to in the ring Sunday night in Cleveland following their pay-per-view bout — a deal that ensured he would get his chance at an immediate rematch against Paul as long as he followed through on getting an “I Love Jake Paul” tattoo inked somewhere on his body.
“He’s trying to back out of it,” Woodley told host Ariel Helwani. “He’s being a coward. I’m calling you out: You’re being a coward.
“I’m willing to be a man and honor my end of the deal. He made a new deal, since he’s the one that makes the bets. Now the bet blew up in your face. Let’s do it. I’m willing and I will. If I’ve got to get my own tattoo artist, I think I’m sliding to L.A., let’s get it cracking. But I need to see some paperwork, because him and his manager are starting to get real [shady]. He told me in there, he said, ‘Tyron, I give you my word.’ This is what [Paul representative] Nakisa [Bidarian] told me, ‘Tyron, I give you my word.’ And he’s been solid — he’s never told me one thing and not been solid about it. I got a lot of love for Nakisa. He said, ‘If you get the tattoo tonight, we’ll give you the rematch.’ And I said, ‘Bet. Let’s run it.’”
The tattoo bet is, of course, nothing new. Woodley and Paul originally agreed in July that the loser of their bout would get a tribute to the other man tattooed on their body. Paul even flew out renown tattoo artist Tatu Baby to do the deed in the loser’s locker room immediately following the fight on Sunday night, however it didn’t end up happening once a new version of the deal was proposed amid the post-fight chaos in the ring.
But Woodley made it clear Monday that he’s still game to get his new ink as long as Paul stays true to his word. And he isn’t worried about what critics in the MMA community and people like Daniel Cormier who are calling for him to renege on the deal have to say about it.
“Man, all these MMA people are trying to tell me what to do,” Woodley said. “Where the f*ck were these MMA people when they were booing me? When they didn’t give me the respect or give me the props? But everybody wants to tell me what to do and how to do it? And they all want to follow me now. Now everybody’s in a boxing gym and f*cking shadowboxing and wanting to get fights.
“I appreciate the love and support, but think about it — none of these people were on my side. Now I’m supposed to f*cking care what you say? Nah. I got love for DC, but sh*t, when it comes down to it, we’re talking about a rematch, this makes more sense for me to get a little f*cking tattoo and I have a story behind it: I f*cking got robbed by the judges, I f*cking knocked this kid through the ropes, they said I lost, I got this tattoo and I went and starched his ass.
“This is all part of the story,” Woodley added. “Because when I whoop his ass, I’m going to look at that tattoo and I’m going to laugh. And it’s probably going to be a trilogy because he’s going to want to try to get revenge back, and we’ll have a whole f*cking Rocky thing.”
Woodley, 39, fared better than Paul’s previous three pro boxing opponents, all of whom got knocked out within the first two rounds, including Woodley’s teammate Ben Askren.
Woodley was never really in danger throughout the eight-round contest and landed some big punches of his own, the biggest of which came during a Round 4 salvo that saw him nearly knock Paul through the ropes – a sequence he believes was incorrectly officiated and should’ve been ruled a knockdown.
“I don’t know how the rules go, and I’m not going to be petty enough to go and protest it or contest it or whatever the f*ck you say,” Woodley said. “But when I hit him, according to my understanding of the rules, if the rope is helping you up, we should be at a standing eight count. I don’t know if you’ve seen the videos and the memes, but he was underneath that top rope — the Stefan Struve rope — he was leaning on the No. 2 rope and his wrist was on the No. 3 rope. I think that if those ropes aren’t there, he’s on his back.
“Maybe his head bounces off the canvas. Maybe when he stands up and the referee gets in his face and starts giving him a count, it freaks him out. Maybe I take a deep breath and I can see the prey a little bit better and I can maybe get him out of there. We don’t know because we didn’t get a chance to see that.
“So I feel like whoever said I only won two rounds, I’ll beat your ass,” Woodley continued, “because clearly that’s f*cking a joke. And I feel like even though they didn’t deem it a knockdown, I still feel like that round was a 10-8 round. I’m talking about Round 4. He was just getting hit with every power shot possible and he was running, he was wobbling.”
Nonetheless, Woodley acknowledged that there were adjustments he should’ve made to his approach. Most of all, he agreed with critics who said he should’ve been a busier fighter and thrown more punches; he averaged little more than six landed punches per round and spent long stretches of the fight with his weapons still firmly in their holsters.
That doesn’t mean Woodley thinks the right man won, though, and he revealed he’s already received a slew of phone calls over the last day from boxing champions who agree that he got robbed of a judges’ decision that should’ve belonged to him.
“I talked to Floyd [Mayweather] last night, a couple other world champions,” Woodley said. “Riddick Bowe hit me up today. Chris ‘Primetime’ [Colbert] hit me up. Andre Ward hit me up. Claressa [Shields] hit me up. And everybody, they said, ‘Man, for somebody who’s never boxed before and is crossing over into our world, we want to give you props, because you fought those f*cking eight rounds.’ Everybody believed I won.
“They also agreed with, like you said, I could’ve thrown a little bit more.”
Paul is still undecided on his next move. He told reporters at Sunday night’s post-fight press conference that he isn’t sure if he’ll fight again in 2021 or who his next fight will be against. Tommy Fury, the half-brother of boxing champion Tyson Fury who defeated Paul’s sparring partner Anthony Taylor on Sunday’s undercard, is one name that’s been thrown around.
But there’s no doubt in Woodley’s mind that he and Paul still have unfinished business.
“Jake, don’t be a b*tch, dog,” Woodley said. “Just finish the movie like it’s supposed to be. This is a big scene in the movie, we’re halfway through the movie. Finish it out the right way. Don’t go and fight no [Tommy] Fury. Nobody wants to see that fight.”