Influencer Jake Paul Joins MMA

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After just under a decade of being one of social media’s most popular influencers–and after a few years as a celebrity boxer–Jake Paul is making a long-term move to join the Professional Fighters League (PFL), which he co-founded in 2017. Even though the YouTuber and part time mixed-martial artist has little fighting experience, Paul plans to sign a multi-year, multi-fight deal with the league. 

Paul’s boxing career started back in 2018 when he released a song criticizing fellow YouTuber Deji. This prompted Paul, along with his famous brother, Logan Paul, to fight both YouTubers Deji and KSI, who are also brothers. In the highly televised event, Paul defeated Deji via technical knockout in the 5th round while his brother, Logan Paul, was awarded a split decision. In the years that followed, Paul fought against various celebrities and former UFC champions. And, in six matches, Paul would go 6-0 with four knockouts. Now, after a few years of being a successful boxer, Paul wants to take it a step further. 

I’ve proven myself in and out of the boxing ring and now I am going to do the same in MMA,” Paul said in a statement to ESPN. “There is no limit to the positive impact I can make on the sport. I plan to enter the PFL SmartCage and once again show the world that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.”

There is no date set at this time for Paul’s MMA debut. However, he did tell the New York Times that he wants to face MMA star Nate Diaz this year, first in a boxing match and then in an MMA match with the PFL.

“To me, I’ve always felt like I’ve jumped in the deep end, even in boxing, maybe besides, like, Ben Askren,” Paul said

I’ve proven myself in and out of the boxing ring and now I am going to do the same in MMA. There is no limit to the positive impact I can make on the sport.”

— Jake Paul

Although most consider Jake Paul to be an average-at-best fighter of subpar opponents, he is prominent in the world of mixed martial arts. With the new league Paul co-founded, he announced that 50% of the revenue earned from pay-per-view sales will be going to the fighters. This move is unprecedented and widely appreciated as in other leagues, such as the UFC, only about 15-20% of the revenue goes to the fighters. Over time, this could convince athletes from other MMA leagues and the UFC to join the PFL, creating more competition in the sport between elite fighters spread across multiple organizations. 

“What Jake stands for in values, the PFL stands for in terms of creating more opportunities for fighters on major stages, to earn more money and for fighters to get their due,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said to Forbes about Paul’s recent signing.