Ready or not, Jake Paul is coming to MMA.
After compiling a 6-0 boxing record–mostly against former MMA fighters–Paul will compete with PFL at some point in 2023. The multi-fight contract also comes with the creation of the “Super Fight” division, which will prioritize fighter’s pay from revenue earned via pay-per-view.
This falls in line with Paul’s proclamations that MMA fighters are being railroaded by promoters, with the biggest perpetrator being the UFC’s Dana White. Paul’s mission to bring awareness on the issue of fighter’s pay didn’t fall on deaf ears. Current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is one of many who support Paul’s stance that promoters can do a better job in compensating fighters.
In an interview with the New York Times, Paul made his intentions known to turn PFL into a viable MMA promotion, and is ready to put in the work to make it so.
“I’ve already disrupted boxing, and now it’s time to disrupt MMA,” Paul added. “I know this is such a tough sport, and it’s not going to be easy, but if I could do it in boxing, I could do it in MMA.”
Jake Paul ready to take on Dana White and the UFC
Issues surrounding fighter’s pay continue to be a hot button argument across MMA. Even in the UFC, million dollar paydays are scarce. Fighters and reporters who try to bring the issue to the forefront are usually met with scorn from White.
With White unwilling to pay fighters beyond what he deems they are worth, fighters have no other outlet to practice their trade as the UFC is the biggest act in town. The UFC is a marketing juggernaut. Second-tier promotions lack the infrastructure and funds to compete with the UFC, often finding themselves closing up shop after a few promising events.
Bellator is allegedly up for sale. Strikeforce, PRIDE FC, and World Extreme Cagefighting went out of business. However, Paul’s proven success as a promoter in boxing and guidance from business partner and former UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian could be a change for the better.
A mega fight with Nate Diaz is possible
In his short time as a boxer, Paul promoted the biggest women’s boxing match of all time in Amanda Serrano vs. Katie Taylor. His blowups with regard to poor matchmaking and alleged corruption has made him an unlikely source of progressiveness in a sport that constantly engages in acts of self sabotage when presented with chances to modernize itself.
Though he has a legion of detractors hellbent on avoiding the change he can potentially bring, Paul is a positive influence in boxing. With that body of work already under him and a genuine desire to do the same with MMA through PFL, 2023 might be a flashpoint year for the sport.
There is no time table or confirmed opponent for Paul’s MMA debut. However, Paul is wasting no time and has resumed social media hostilities with Nate Diaz, challenging him to a showdown in both the boxing ring and octagon. If it goes through, an unexpected Paul vs. Diaz bout might end up being the biggest event of the year.