UFC president Dana White has already made it pretty clear that he has no interest in working with Jake Paul. But according to Paul, that position may not be as final as it currently seems.
Paul is no stranger to big ambitions. His big goal when it comes to boxing is a fight against Conor McGregor, and he seems quite prepared to run through as many former UFC greats and McGregor associates as required to get there. For that big “Notorous” fight, he’ll need Dana White’s blessing at the very least … which may be harder to secure than Conor’s interest.
In an interview with Chael Sonnen, Paul implied there’s already been talks about working with the UFC.
“Look, there’s conversations happening,” Paul said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I believe Kamaru [Usman’s] manager is already in talks with Dana and I think that’s all I can say. A hundred percent, I’m down for all the smoke. I want all the smoke. Daniel Cormier, another example.”
One potential hurdle that Paul made clear was out of the way: he’s not locked in to working with Triller. White has alternated back and forth between disdain and begrudging admiration for the way Jake Paul has managed to turn himself into a pay-per-view attraction. But you can tell Dana White has nothing but contempt and outright hostility when it comes to Triller.
“I’m a free agent,” Paul said. “Look, I think that’s the way it should be with all fighters. It just sucks to see these young kids, these young boxers, these young UFC champions get tied up into these contracts where they’re owned by the promoter. They’re owned by Dana White and they’re not getting fair pay, they’re not getting the fights they want.
“It’s a big problem. How is Arianny Celeste—she’s a ring girl, right?—how is she making more money than some of the fighters in the octagon who are risking their lives? It doesn’t make sense to me and it’s just a big problem.
“I’m hoping to help change that and just help fighters realize they are the content. They are the ones that the fans are showing up for. They are the ones that are driving these pay-per-views. They’re the ones risking their lives and they should be rewarded for that.”
This isn’t the first time Paul has called out White for underpaying his fighters. And even if it’s one of the worst people making the point, we’re 100% here for it. Fighter pay just doesn’t come up at UFC press conferences for some strange reason, and White is masterful at locking in narratives about Jon Jones and Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre. If the only person capable of making headlines about how ridiculous UFC fighter pay is a YouTube jackass, we’ll take it.
The question is whether it will get Paul any closer to securing a fight with any of the guys he wants. Usman, Cormier, McGregor, all three are locked up tight under contract with the UFC. Maybe he can troll his way into having Dana send someone out to ‘get him.’ But what’s more likely is White will close the door on all this talk and try to ignore him. Will that work? We’ll have to see, cuz Paul certainly isn’t going anywhere any time soon.