Despite never competing for a title nor boxing any noted fighters in their prime, there’s perhaps no one in combat sports getting more press right now than Jake Paul. The social media star turned boxer has been a near constant source of conversation since he knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson on the undercard of the Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr fight and especially after he knocked out mixed martial arts fighter Ben Askren last month. Never has that been clearer than this past week when Paul showed up at the UFC card in Jacksonville and got an earful from both fans and former champion Daniel Cormier. Commentator and podcast superstar Joe Rogan was there, and of course he had his own thoughts too.
Joe Rogan talked about the incident this week on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, as well as the buy rates of Jake Paul’s recent pay per view and how they have compared to UFC numbers. Long story short, if the social media start is telling the truth, there’s potentially a lot of money floating around. You can check out a portion of Rogan’s quote below...
Let me tell you something, dude, we were in Florida, in Jacksonville, sold out arena, and they were all chanting ‘Fuck Jake Paul. Fuck Jake Paul.’ He’s filming it. He’s got his phone out… He’s hearing cha-ching, cha-ching. He’s making so much money, dude. He said there was 1.5 million pay per view buys when he knocked out Ben Askren. I don’t know if that’s true. Dana White says it’s nonsense. But maybe? Who has the fucking receipts? If he’s lying, why didn’t he say 2 million? Why didn’t he say 3 million? Why did he say 1.5? Maybe he’s telling the truth. If he’s telling the truth, they made a fucking considerable amount of money. That’s bigger by more than double the very legitimate 3 title fight UFC card of this past weekend. That apparently got 700,000 buys. Granted, these are 700,000 ESPN+ verified absolute buys. There’s no bullshit.
As a good wrestling heel would tell you, often times the intensity of the interest is more important than whether it’s positive or not. A hater’s money is just as good as an admirer’s money, and there’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of people are buying the Jake Paul fights with the hope he gets rocked. I know because there are editors who work at CinemaBlend who bought the Jake Paul/ Ben Askren fight hoping to see him knocked out.
Exactly how many people bought the fight, however, is the biggest question, as Rogan alluded to. The Mike Tyson/ Roy Jones Jr card, for which Jake Paul and Nate Robinson was the undercard, allegedly generated 1.6M buys. Rogan went on to talk about how he thinks that number is legitimate, and I completely agree. There was so much chatter about that fight on Twitter while it was happening, and it was pulling interest from both Jake Paul fans and Mike Tyson fans. Now the number being floated around for the Ben Askren fight is 1.5M, and the haters are out in force saying it didn’t happen. UFC head Dana White, as Rogan referred to in the quote, called it a “freakshow” and said they’re “full of shit.”
We’ll have to see what Jake Paul’s next move is. He was confronted by Daniel Cormier during the recent UFC event, but it’s hard to imagine Jake Paul would get in the ring with him. That fight would almost certainly do a huge PPV number, but the chances of Paul not getting rocked would be very, very low. It's also unclear whether Cormier would agree to box and not fight in the cage. Paul has been very direct that he wants to fight Connor McGregor. That fight would probably come close to breaking buy records, but McGregor hasn’t shown an interest so far, even with his UFC career at a bit of a crossroads. Long story short, we have no idea exactly where Paul will go from here, but wherever he ends up, expect a lot of people to be talking about it.