Jake Paul certainly isn’t the first celebrity who attempted to crossover into combat sports, but he’s definitely the latest to receive a lot of attention as he prepares to headline his first pay-per-view for an upcoming fight against retired UFC veteran Ben Askren.
Ever since making his professional debut in early 2020, the 24-year-old YouTube sensation has said repeatedly that he’s taking his boxing career seriously, though his first two fights came against another social media influencer and a retired NBA player who had never fought before.
That said, Paul will now face his first true opponent with fighting experience as Askren puts down his wrestling singlet and picks up the boxing gloves for their showdown on April 17.
The card featuring Paul and Askren in the main event is expected to draw a ton of attention, but don’t expect UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori to be one of the paying customers.
Back in January, Vettori took to Twitter to blast Paul and the “shortcuts” he’s taken in his combat sports career while there are thousands of real fighters struggling to make ends meet while working their way up through the ranks.
This Jake Paul bullshit is so disrespectful to all the real fighters— Marvin Vettori (@MarvinVettori) January 28, 2021
Fuck whoever is always trying to take shortcuts especially in this game
Hope I had the chance to punk this bitch in any training or fight
Blood sweat and tears is what this game is about and he’s none of this
A big part of Vettori’s problem with Paul comes down to the media attention he’s received despite not actually accomplishing anything yet in his fight career while still considering himself a legitimate fighter.
“It’s bad, it’s disrespectful,” Vettori said about Paul in an interview with MMA Fighting. “The most disrespectful is also this bullsh*t ass media that I’ve seen all over where they give him credit. With media, it’s a give and take, but at the end of the day the silver lining of every media should be informing. It’s lost. It’s lost by far in general. It could be anything. It could news, it could be MMA. It could be anything. It’s kind of sad to see this.
“They’re just after any kind of clickbait to put on the news, and the content is just sh*t and it’s getting sh*ttier. It’s sad.”
While Paul is racking up millions of views on YouTube, not to mention the paycheck he’ll earn for the pay-per-view profits reaped from his upcoming fight, Vettori has seen plenty of more talented athletes struggle to get any kind of attention despite combat sports being a life’s dream for them.
“To see that people are just jumping on some YouTube like that,” Vettori said. “It’s just sad. There’s people out there who have been giving their whole life to this game, and this guy has been f*king around with other little kids until he came a little famous. Then to try to jump into fighting other [YouTubers], whatever it is, not fighters and picking and choosing. Even just making more money, it’s just disrespectful.”
Of course, Vettori welcomes Paul to test himself against a real opponent that could introduce him to fighting in a proper fashion.
In fact, the middleweight contender, who fights Kevin Holland in the UFC Vegas 23 main event on ABC on Saturday, welcomes Paul to come visit him at King’s MMA in California if he wants to be served a few lessons in the art of fighting and maybe even a side dish of humility as well.
“Just tell him, somebody go get him and I want to make it a surprise,” Vettori said. “I want to show you something. Just bring him to Huntington. Once he steps in that door, we just lock the door. Trust me, we wouldn’t be unfair. It’s not like we would jump him or something but it’s just like you want to experiencing fighting? Good. Get into the cage and I’ll be glad to welcome him.
“I can send some 145’er that would smash him. It’s all right. It’s the world we live in these days. You can’t do much about it. You just stay in your own lane and do your own sh*t. That’s it really.”
If Paul prefers a step up in competition, Vettori would gladly offer his services as well, and he probably wouldn’t even charge for his services.
“I’m all about it,” Vettori said. “Like I said, I’ll basically do it for free. I would.”