Jake Paul might look like a one-man army going to war with the UFC and Dana White, but he promises there are silent masses from inside the promotion who are backing him up.
After releasing a “diss track” aimed at the UFC president and business practices that Paul has targeted as unfair to the athletes, the 25-year-old undefeated boxer says several prominent fighters have reached out to him privately to show support, but none can do so publicly out of fear of biting the hand that feeds them.
“There a lot of fighters — a lot of big fighters in the UFC — who message me privately and say, ‘We love this, this is hilarious. Keep on going, but I can’t support this publicly,’” Paul said Monday on The MMA Hour.
Paul has engaged in a nasty war of words with White over the past year, going back and forth regarding his boxing career and his criticism towards the UFC, especially where fighter pay is concerned.
Beyond his musical aspirations to get under White’s skin, Paul also recently purchased stock in the UFC’s parent company at Endeavor with the goal to try and make fundamental changes from within. He also said he is looking at launching a possible fighters’ union.
While Paul says his efforts are aimed at helping UFC fighters make a better living and earn more benefits, he isn’t asking anyone to back him up publicly because he knows the recourse against them could be devastating.
“I don’t want them to sacrifice,” Paul said. “They have to put food on their family’s table. Like I said earlier, I happen to have a platform to be able to do this. So I accept the responsibility and I’m going to do it. I’ve made that decision. I’m going to war and I’m not backing down no matter what happens. I don’t need the fighters in the UFC to support this.
“Behind the scenes, it would be great for them to support it and talk about it and push for these movements, and obviously if there’s a fighters’ union created, everyone in the UFC should join it to create power and to create a better position for themselves and a better life for themselves. But I don’t need them to support a diss track or anything like that publicly, because they’re just going to f*ck themselves over, and I don’t want that. I want them to win and make more money.”
Paul’s constant attacks on White and the UFC have earned him plenty of attention, but also skepticism about whether or not he’s actually concerned about helping UFC fighters.
Because he’s already amassed such a large following after by first coming to prominence as a social influencer and YouTube star, Paul isn’t hurting for people to follow his every move. That’s a big part of why Paul is quick to defend his true intentions, though he’s also happy to allow his actions to speak louder than his words.
“I’m not letting off the gas any time soon, and I’ve spent a bunch of my own money on this matter and pushing for these things,” Paul said. “I wake up everyday with a purpose on my mind and I think I’ve done more than enough to show for women’s boxing, fighter pay, equality, fighters, boxing promoters — I’ve done more than enough in terms of actions. And even more cards previously, almost every fighter that’s been on it, it’s their highest payday, always.
“I’ve gotten Tyron Woodley his highest payday, Ben Askren his highest payday. So these fighters who are always mistreated, I’m taking action, I’m backing it up. I’m not letting off any time soon and I actually care. I actually give a f*ck. I’ve done too much and it’s nothing to me. I enjoy this. I like this. I feel the responsibility to be a part of this movement and it’s getting traction. That’s exactly what I wanted and I’m excited to continue to be one of the leaders of this conversation.”
With a successful boxing career that earned him major money over the past year, Paul knows he could just sit back, relax, and enjoy his millions. But he says that wouldn’t bring him the same level of satisfaction as helping the fighters he watches and admires from afar.
“For people that don’t think I’m serious about it, you’ll see,” Paul said. “We’re talking to lawyers to begin a process to start a fighter’s union. I’m not spending all my time and money. I could do anything. I made $45 million this last year. I have a badass girlfriend. I have Lamborghinis. I can go to the club. I could go to dinners. I could hang out with rappers. I could retire. I could do my crypto investments and give up on all this. I have everything I want in life, but what gives me a lot of pleasure is helping other people.
“I’ve noticed that it brings back more for me in the long run. For people to think I’m taking all this time out of my day to do all of these things behind the scenes — there’s so much stuff that people don’t even see. They see the interviews and they see me talk about it, but the actual nitty gritty, getting my elbows dirty, I’m in there. I’m in the weeds and people will see that.”