Jake Paul is making some progress with his fighter union — but there's still plenty of roadblocks.
Paul takes on Nate Diaz in a 10-round boxing match contested at 185 pounds on Aug. 5 in Dallas, Texas. While he's preparing for what could be arguably his toughest test yet in the boxing ring — at least from an MMA fighter — he's still focused on making sure combat sports athletes are paid well.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer has made a name for himself in recent years for riling up UFC president Dana White by campaigning for better fighter pay and recently, started a union formally titled the United Fighters Association.
As for how it's going so far? Paul claims he's spoken to some notable fighters who are interested in joining. Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva — who Paul defeated in a boxing match last year and had to join hands as a result of losing — is also on board while Paul has commitments from five others.
That said, it's still been difficult to get fighters on board as a whole as Paul claims they are “selfish” as well as scared to “go against the regime” in the UFC.
“The biggest challenge is all the fighters are really difficult to work with,” Paul said in an interview with SI. “They’re very selfish. They think it’s too good to be true. A lot of the UFC fighters are scared to go against the regime. They think that if their name’s attached to something, that they’re going to get cut or shelved or lose all their money.”
Meanwhile, there's plenty of interest from boxers.
However, it's much easier for them to get on board as they're all part of various promotions within boxing rather than UFC fighters who are all tied to the same Las Vegas-based promotion.
“There’s a ton of interest from boxers. The problem is that you have to start by going up against a corporation,” Paul added. “That’s what a union is, going up against a specific entity. In boxing there’s less of that; it’s more scattered. The way to make the dominoes fall is starting with MMA and going against, basically, the UFC.
“That power and control would trickle into the rest of the combat sports, because the UFC would have to play by a certain set of rules. Then we would bring that over to boxing.”
Whether there's any progress to be made on this front remains to be seen, but maybe with the recent news of Francis Ngannou, more and more UFC fighters will look towards Paul's union.