Jake Paul has made a lot of waves in the combat sports world, and his upcoming summer fight with former UFC champion Tyron Woodley figures to be one of the bigger events of the combat sports year.
However you break that down and whatever it means to you that the 24-year-old YouTube celebrity has been able to so easily leapfrog past so many other “stars” in the fight game, Paul is also taking up the battle against UFC and in particular Dana White.
Much has been made of UFC “under-paying” its fighters over the years, and there has been sort of a consistent if minor rise in the chatter there. Paul used his media event this week with Woodley to really go at White, starting when he was asked what names he might like to fight going forward.
“I’m going for (Conor) McGregor, I’m going for (Floyd) Mayweather, I’m going for all of these guys. I want Kamaru Usman, (Nate) Diaz, but I’m not looking past Tyron at all,” he said. “There are a lot of names, but these (UFC) guys are all owned by Dana White, so who is Dana White gonna let out of his contract to get knocked out?”
Paul then really dig in and started lobbing some heavy fire White’s way.
“I think there’s a movement moving forward that is gonna show that (UFC) fighters should be getting paid more,” he said. “It’s unfair. The UFC fighters don’t have fair pay. Out of all the sports, the percentage that the owners get versus the athlete, they’re the lowest. Francis Ngannou vs Jon Jones, that fight should happen. Dana White, pay them the $10 million!
“He’s taking their money. They’re the ones making the content, they’re the ones getting in the ring, risking their life. Chris Weidman goes in, snaps his leg in half. What’s that look like? He may never be able to fight again and provide food for his family. These fighters are risking their lives. You can quite literally die in the ring, and they need to be compensated more.
“I’m a big proponent of that movement, of being in control. Just like music labels, same thing. These artists are getting owned and locked up into these shitty contracts and they don’t know what to do. So fuck that shit, fuck Dana White.”
Paul also made a realistic statement: he’s someone, however weird it is, who can afford to take this level of shot at Dana White, and most UFC fighters simply can’t.
“No one else can talk shit to Dana! He’ll just sideline them and then they’re fucked,” he said. “I’m the only one that doesn’t need Dana White in the fight world. Everyone is scared of him. I don’t give a fuck about him.”
You don’t have to like Jake Paul, but he’s a celebrity with a pretty big platform, particularly on social media, and while I’m not suggesting Dana White is out there shaking in his boots, Paul deciding to wage war like this isn’t good news for him in any way.