Hot off of his most recent knockout of Tyron Woodley, Jake Paul has issued a big challenge to Dana White and the UFC in exchange for his services.
In a tweet posted by Jake Paul, he agreed to “immediately retire from boxing” should Dana White implement changes to the company. Those changes demanded by Paul include an increase in minimum fighter pay to $50,000. The current minimum by the UFC is $12,000 per fight.
Paul also demands that the UFC guarantees fighters 50% of the UFC’s annual revenues. This has been a hot-button issue since a New York Post article confirmed that only 16% of the UFC’s revenue went to the fighters in 2019. With $900 million in revenue for 2019, that means the UFC spent less than $150 million of it on the actual fighters.
That 16% is significantly less than other major sports leagues. In comparison, the MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA split revenue evenly with 48-52% of the total revenue going to the athletes.
“It’s Part of the Gig”
The third demand by Paul calls for long-term health care for fighters. Paul specifically noted brain damage which Dana White himself has acknowledged in an interview with MMA Junkie.
While discussing Spencer Fisher, a former UFC lightweight who was forced to retire due to brain lesions, White was fairly dismissive of the toll that fighting took on Fisher and fighters in general
“But listen, he’s not the first and he’s definitely not going to be the last. This is a contact sport and anybody who’s done this younger, myself included, is dealing with brain issues. It’s part of the gig.”
Imagine the backlash if the National Football League had dismissed concussion and brain damage claims by saying, “It’s part of the gig.”
The Ultimate Ultimatum
Paul says that Dana White has five days to accept the deal. Once accepted, all requirements have to be implemented by March 31, 2022. At that time, Paul says he will immediately retire from boxing, enter USADA and sign a one-fight deal to face Jorge Masvidal.
UFC fighters have spoken out about fighter pay and a lack of healthcare for years. Whether you love or hate Jake Paul, his demands would benefit all of the fighters who put their bodies on the line to entertain us.
Unfortunately, White has been dismissive of fighter pay concerns and very vocal about his dislike for Paul. Any one of these changes would be a step in the right direction to properly support fighters, but the fact that Jake Paul is the one demanding change makes it even less likely that Dana White and the UFC will implement any or all of them.
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