Jake Paul has gone from YouTube star, to professional boxer, to now mixed martial artist after signing a multi-year contract with the Professional Fighters League, he announced on Thursday.
Paul is set to compete in the MMA for the first time in 2023 after signing the contract. He does not yet have a bout scheduled, but he plans to fight this year. Paul will compete in a new division, known as Super Fight, with events on pay-per-view.
“I’ve officially signed as an MMA fighter, to the fastest growing sports league in the world,” Paul said in a video posted to his YouTube channel on Thursday morning. “The PFL baby.”
Paul and his business partner, Nakisa Bidarian, are among the founders of the new division and now own an equity share of the P.F.L., although terms of the deal were not disclosed by Paul or the league.
The Super Fight division is meant to attract fighters who can instantly draw paying customers rather than those mainly looking to win a championship at an established weight class.
In the new division, fighters will earn at least 50 percent of the pay-per-view revenue, which is a stark contrast to the UFC model in which fighters earn less than 20 percent of total revenue. Since he began his boxing career, Paul has been a vocal critic of the UFC, often clashing with promotion president Dana White in the process.
Paul says he plans to fight twice in 2023, although no dates have been confirmed yet. He certainly knows who he wants to be his next opponent, though:
“I would beat Nate Diaz up in a MMA fight,” Paul said. “There’s nothing he could do. To me, I’ve always felt like I’ve jumped in the deep end, even in boxing, maybe besides, like, Ben Askren.”
Jake Paul won his most recent bout against Anderson Silva, a former U.F.C. champion. Photo courtsey of Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports, via Reuters