Jake Paul signs with PFL: YouTube & boxing star hints at potential date for first MMA fight

Home Sports Jake Paul signs with PFL: YouTube & boxing star hints at potential date for first MMA fight
Jake Paul signs with PFL: YouTube & boxing star hints at potential date for first MMA fight

Jake Paul is disrupting the entire combat landscape.

Over the past few years, the YouTuber has been fighting MMA fighters in a boxing ring. His quest to take over combat sports while attempting to provide better pay for fighters has been met with praise and anger. Drawing the ire of hardcore fans, those same individuals, along with fighters, have called for him to fight inside a cage, to see how tough he really is. 

Be careful what you wish for. 

According to The New York Times, Paul has signed a multi-year contract with the Professional Fighters League. Here is everything we know so far about Paul’s move into MMA.

Why is Jake Paul joining PFL?

Along with business partner Nakisa Bidarian (named “Head of Making Everyone Money)”, the Most Valuable Promotions leader now owns an equity share of the PFL. Paul’s role with the company will be “Head of Fighter Advocacy,” which will involve social media access and promotion of the PFL and its fighters to his followers. 

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Not only will he have a backstage role in the company, but “The Problem Child” will also be competing inside the cage. He teamed with chairman Donn Davis and CEO Peter Murray to help increase fighter pay, something he has fought the UFC and President Dana White to do for the fighters that belong there.

“I’ve officially signed as an MMA fighter to the fastest-growing sports league in the world: the PFL, baby,” Paul stated in a release video. “Let’s go! The Professional Fighters League, baby. And not only am I an MMA fighter now, officially signed to an organization, but I am also a co-founder of the new PFL PPV Super Fight division.”

What is the PFL Super Fight division?

The Super Fight division will be a special weight class, where fighters can earn at least 50% of the PFL’s pay-per-view revenue. Fights will be distributed by PFL partner ESPN as well as DAZN. Competitors will still be able to monetize their own sponsorship deals. 

When will Jake Paul make his MMA debut?

This partnership announcement is the first domino towards Paul stepping into the cage. For now, it remains unknown when exactly Paul will be competing in the PFL SmartCage. But we do have a rough idea of when fans can expect his first PFL fight.

“I think what’s made Jake interesting to fans is that he works hard, and he doesn’t underestimate what it takes,” Donn Davis told ESPN. “He knows he’s not ready [for his MMA debut] right now, but he’s starting to train. I think it’s going to be about one year from now, so early 2024, where you’ll see him take on his first opponent. But the kind of opponents he is thinking of will shock the world in terms of their status and name brand.”

MORE: Dana White responds to video showing physical altercation with wife

In the video, Paul offered former UFC star Nate Diaz a two-fight deal. They would compete in a boxing bout and then in an MMA fight in the PFL. Both Paul and Diaz’s teams engaged in a brawl at UFC 279. Diaz is currently a free agent.  

Paul, a former wrestler, brought up past videos of him wanting to compete in MMA. Fighters he has competed in a boxing ring against include Tyron Woodley, Ben Askren, and Anderson Silva. Paul last fought in October, beating Silva via unanimous decision, knocking down the legendary MMA fighter at one point. They agree to form a fighters union following the fight. 

“I’ve already disrupted boxing. And now, it’s time to disrupt MMA. I know this is a tough sport. It’s not going to be easy. But if I can do it in boxing, I can do it in MMA… We’re about to change the f—— game, baby. Dana? Dana? Dana?”

What is the PFL?

Following the acquisition and restructuring of the World Series of Fighting, the PFL was founded in 2018. It is the first major MMA promotion where athletes compete in a regular season, post-season, and championship format. The PFL uses a point system, with wins in a certain round resulting in a certain number of points. The fighters in each division compete multiple times a year for a spot in the PFL Finals. The winner of that takes home the championship of their division and $1 million. 

MORE: Alex Rodriguez expands ownership interests with $30 million investment into PFL MMA league

How can I watch the PFL?

The PFL has a television deal with ESPN, with events airing on ESPN and ESPN+. 

Fighters that compete on the platform include Kayla Harrison, Brendan Loughnane, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Ray Cooper III, Chris Wade, and Marlon Moraes. Boxing champion Claressa Shields signed a deal to compete in the PFL not long ago. 

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