Jake Paul Signs With PFL, Details MMA Fight Plans That Include Nate Diaz

Paul challenged the UFC great to two fights–a boxing match and then an MMA match–in the PFL cage.

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Social media influencer-turned-boxer Jake Paul is taking a swing at mixed martial arts by signing a multifight, multiyear deal with the Professional Fighters League.

Paul–who recently defeated 47-year-old UFC legend Anderson Silva in the boxing ring and has specialized in beating faded UFC stars–announced Thursday that he has signed an MMA contract with PFL to compete in a new pay-per-view division called Super Fight.

Paul and his business partner, Nakisa Bidarian, are among the founders of the new division and now own an unspecified equity share of the PFL, according to the New York Times, which broke the news.

The Super Fight division is meant to attract fighters who can instantly draw paying customers rather than those mainly looking to win a championship at an established weight class.

In the Super Fight division, fighters will earn at least 50 percent of the pay-per-view revenue, with bouts distributed by ESPN and the streaming service DAZN.

The revenue share is significantly higher than what fighters earn in the UFC, the world’s most popular MMA organization, where fighters earn less than 20 percent of total revenue, which includes other sources of revenue like ticket sales and sponsorships.

“This is about changing MMA, disrupting, innovating, and creating the next big league,” Paul said in an interview.

Paul, 25–who as the league’s new “Head of Fighter Advocacy” will share social media posts about the PFL with his millions of followers–has long criticized UFC president Dana White’s pay structure for his fighters.

In an Instagram video announcing the deal, Paul challenged UFC great Nate Diaz to a boxing match this year, followed by an MMA fight in the PFL. Diaz, 37, is currently a combat sports free agent after winning the last fight in his UFC contract against Tony Ferguson at UFC 279.

Paul holds a pro boxing record of 6-0 with four knockouts. His best-known wins have come against former UFC champions like Silva and Tyron Woodley, 40, who he defeated twice. The PFL announcement comes after Paul has long teased a transition to MMA, though he plans to keep boxing as well.

“I’ve proven myself in and out of the boxing ring and now I am going to do the same in MMA,” Paul said in a statement. “There is no limit to the positive impact I can make on the sport. I plan to enter the PFL SmartCage and once again show the world that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.”

PFL chairman and co-founder Donn Davis told ESPN it could take a full year for Paul to make his MMA debut. “I think what’s made Jake interesting to fans is that he works hard and he doesn’t underestimate what it takes,” Davis said.

“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.”