The New York Times reports that Jake Paul has signed a contract to fight for the PFL (Professional Fight League).
In early 2023, Jake Paul promised he would walk the talk when it came to setting MMA fighter salaries. His first concrete step towards this? Moving on to MMA, where he will no doubt pay a big purse to fight in a cage later this year.
According to the Times, Paul has signed a multi-year deal with the PFL to compete in the promotion’s new “Super Fight Division,” which will anchor PFL pay-per-view events. Although no date has been revealed, the PFL plans to hold two pay-per-views this year and Paul is expected to compete on one while boxing once in the year as well.
As part of the deal, Jake Paul now owns shares in the PFL, and his partner Nakisa Bidarian at Most Valuable Promotions will help the PFL with “logistics” for pay-per-view events. Bidarian is the former chief financial officer of the UFC from 2011 to 2016. Paul will also become the PFL’s “Chief of Fighters Defense”.
In this clip, Jake Paul says he offered Nate Diaz a two-fight contract: one fight in boxing then 6 months later in MMA under the PFL banner pic.twitter.com/vqzTvZ1ben
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 5, 2023
In what’s the most interesting wrinkle to this deal, Super Fight Division fighters will earn “at least 50% of pay-per-view revenue” from PFL events. Sure, that might not have been a lot of money when the PFL held its first PPV event in November featuring Kayla Harrison and the 2022 tournament final. But with Paul attached to the event, the UFC doesn’t. It may no longer be the highest paid MMA game in the industry.
For years, the UFC has been criticized for locking fighters’ pay through the promotion at around 18% of earnings. They are currently embroiled in a slow-moving class action lawsuit launched by veterans claiming they are a monopoly and monopsony that illegally used its market share to drive down fighters’ pay. And while it will likely be a few more years at least before this matter is resolved, this PFL deal gives a glimmer of hope that fighters like Nate Diaz, Francis Ngannou, Paulo Costa and others can leave the UFC. and have a platform where they can fight and get paid fairly.
We were a little dubious when Jake Paul claimed he was going to be a game-changer when it came to MMA fighter pay, but with some clever maneuvering and the right matches, the PFL could use his name to make his brand a contender. legit. at the UFC. The Professional Fight League debuted in 2018 and hoped to attract big name MMA fighters from the UFC with their million dollar tournament setup. The exodus never happened, in part due to the extremely restrictive and long-lasting nature of UFC contracts. But there is a growing handful of fighters breaking free of these and becoming free agents.
We imagine that 50% of the PPV profits will look quite attractive to them once Paul proves that a non-UFC PPV can sell a few hundred thousand units.
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