We have no idea who Jake Paul will fight next in 2022, but one constant remains: his willingness to battle it out with UFC president Dana White in the press.
Jake and Dana have been trading barbs back and forth since White claimed Paul’s April pay-per-view numbers against Ben Askren were “full of s—t.” Since then Paul has threatened to punch White in the head if they run into each other, made fun of White’s sex tape blackmail story, and taken regular shots at the UFC over their exploitative pay structure.
Now Paul is going back to the UFC pay thing. An antitrust case brought by former UFC fighters revealed that the UFC has effectively locked fighter pay in at 20% of gross income over the past five years, which is quite the shortchange compared to other major league sports in America where athletes earn around 50%.
In his latest social media broadside, Paul said he’d retire from boxing immediately and fight Jorge Masvidal in the UFC if they brought their pay parity up to that 50% mark.
Happy new year Dana White. Here is a real challenge for you… I will immediately retire from boxing and fight Jorge Masvidal in the UFC if you agree to:
1) Increase min fighter pay per fight to $50K (it’s $12K now)
2) Guarantee UFC fighters 50% of UFC annual revenues ($1bn in 2021)
3) Provide longterm healthcare to all fighters (you previously said brain damage is part of the gig…imagine the NFL said that). There are many UFC alums who have publicly said they are suffering from brain damage
You have 5 days to accept and to implement the above by March 31, 2022. Once implemented I will immediately retire from boxing, enter USADA and agree to a 1 fight deal with UFC to fight weak chin Jorge
To all UFC fighters — time to take a stand and creative value for yourselves and peers. You deserve higher pay, you deserve long term healthcare and above all you deserve freedom. Support each other. I am not your enemy, I am your advocate…who selfishly wants to KO a few of you to make some big bank
It didn’t take Dana White long to respond to Paul, claiming it was Paul’s manager and former UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian that wrote the statement.
“That thing that you came out with today, nobody on Earth thinks that you really wrote that,” White said in a video posted on Twitter (transcript via MMA Fighting). “You’re too stupid. And for those of you that don’t know — if you’ve ever watched one of his fights and you see the stare downs, the guy that’s standing in the middle with the warlock nose and the big wart on his face, apparently that’s his manager.”
“That guy used to be an accountant for me. And let me say this, he no longer works for me and I think he’s a scumbag. But if you two think you can do it better than we do, we’re doing the whole thing wrong and you’re treating fighters better than we do? Knock yourself out. Go start your own business, it’s easy to do. Get the warlock on it. The warlock can get it started for you.”
“What you and the warlock should be focused on is your business,” White finished. “You’re tanking. You can’t sell pay-per-views. You’re calling out Jorge Masvidal because he’s a pay-per-view superstar. Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor, Mike Tyson, these guys are all superstars. You’re not. You can’t sell pay-per-views. So you do whatever the hell you want to do.”
It’s a bit of an interesting retort because Paul and Bidarian have already started their own business – Most Valuable Promotions, which they kicked off when they left Triller after the Askren fight in April 2021. Their first event with Paul vs. Woodley sold approximately 500,000 PPVs, which is a crazy impressive number.
The second Paul vs. Woodley fight, a last minute replacement for Paul vs. Tommy Fury, is most likely going to sit around 150,000 to 200,000 buys once digital is taken into account. That’s a big drop but understandable given how lackluster the first fight with Woodley was. And let’s be real: Paul knocking Woodley into the shadow realm only increased the YouTuber-turned-boxer’s marketability for future events.
Any company that can break 100,000 PPV buys is a threat to the UFC. What Paul managed to do in 2021 with two opponents the UFC used up and tossed out is unparalleled in modern combat sports. Many have tried, but Paul is succeeding, which just sets up an even bigger stage for Jake and Dana to go at it through the media in 2022.