Over the last few years, Jake Paul has become one of the most polarizing figures in MMA. Paul made his pro boxing debut in 2020,, knocking out Nate Robinson (former NBA player), and has been a consistent boxer.
He knocked out Ben Askren, former Bellator champion, in April. He then won a decision against Tyron Woodley, former UFC champion, in August. Woodley was knocked out in the rematch in December. All this while he courted other MMA stars such as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. It’s a promotional strategy that has kept Paul’s name at the forefront of the two sports, but has also angered many boxers and boxing fans who claim Paul is making a mockery of their sport. But Eddie Hearn, the man who promoted Paul’s first boxing match, thinks “The Problem Child” doesn’t deserve all the criticism he gets.
“I promoted his first fight, two years ago. Hearn laughed Wednesday at The MMA Hour . Hearn said that he put Jake in against YouTubers and people ask me about Jake Paul. I respond with Jake because the U.K. terminology differs — plunkker, grade A plunker, dipstick. He is a good friend of mine. That’s not a disrespectful statement. Half the time, I think he’s on a wind up. Do you see what I’m referring to? You know what I mean? Like when he spoke about Canelo fighting, I was looking at him and thinking, “Are you laughing in your heart?”
“I think fighters, because of what they’ve sacrificed, sometimes hold it against Jake Paul and say, ‘Well, I’ve been grinding in the gym for 15 years!’ Yeah, but you’re not good enough and you haven’t built the profile that he’s built. He should be allowed to continue doing that. He has put in the effort in the gym. He has fallen in love and is a good boxer. I think he brings a different kind of audience.”
Yet while Paul is attempting to shake up the boxing industry in some regards, the former Disney Channel star is doing nothing short of going to war with MMA, specifically the UFC. Paul and Dana White have been engaged in coordinated attacks over healthcare and fighter pay for months. Just this past week, Paul released a diss track targeting White. Hearn said it was a great example of not interacting with Paul.
” I think he isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, but it’s impossible to argue with him. Dana has discovered this,” Paul stated. It’s outrageous. I thought it was really good. Although I enjoy both of them, it was a good movie.
“Dana would have been fuming. Jake Paul should not have sent him back. It’s the last thing you do — do a video addressing Jake Paul. It’s not necessary. Just leave it. Isn’t that what we desire? We want views, we want interest, we want drama, we want confrontation, we want hype, we want narrative. That’s our jobs, isn’t it? They complement each other, I believe .”
Dana White might not be in agreement. Paul’s concerns about fighter pay and restrictive contracts aren’t new to the UFC. However, Paul doesn’t seem to lose interest in his vendetta. Paul recently claimed that he invested in Endeavor (the UFC’s parent) with the intention of lobbying for higher fighter pay. Paul also stated that he is looking into other avenues to fighter empowerment and possibly starting a fighters union.
With the platform Paul possesses, Hearn says that he could be a real problem for the UFC if things stay the same.
” There will be greater pressure on the organisation as time passes, particularly with the noise and voice of Jake Paul,” Hearn stated. “Jake Paul’s a disaster for those guys. [He is sincere], But I also think that he has a bee in the bonnet, and he is having fun with it. I believe he is on a mission. But do I think he feels that UFC fighters are underpaid? Yeah, for sure.”
Paul and Hearn are set to co-promote the upcoming lightweight title fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano that figures to be the biggest fight in women’s boxing history on April 30 at Madison Square Garden.