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Jake Paul Signs With The PFL With Plans To Make His MMA Debut In 2023

Oh man - you've gotta be kidding me.

First things first - let's address the elephant in the room: do you think somebody told Jake Paul to change his shirt when he started this announcement video because he looked like a prisoner coming to us live from an interrogation room when he first sat down? I think so.

Now let's discuss the announcement itself; Jake Paul is officially signed on with the Professional Fighters League (and got an equity stake in the company) with plans to make his MMA debut in their "PPV Super Fight Division" this year. It also sounds like his role as "Head of Fighter Advocacy" is essentially a deal to promote the PFL and its fighters year-round. Paul mentions that he wrestled in high school, and rolls back various clips of him saying that he'd rather fight in the cage than box (before he went down the path he eventually did) to try to accentuate the point that he's serious about this.

What is the Professional Fighters League, you may ask? 

If you're unfamiliar, the PFL is the #2 MMA organization in the world right now and it's the only other brand that airs on ESPN/ESPN+ alongside the UFC. They separate themselves from the pack by being the first mixed martial arts company to implement a "Season Format" with a regular season, playoffs, and one championship night a year (where all victors get one million dollars) more similar to traditional sports. 

They've seen exponential growth over just the past couple seasons and have a huge team of investors (including AROD) behind them. Plus, they treat us really well....

....but I digress. Back to Jake Paul.

Jake isn't planning to join the PFL's season format - he'll be in the "PPV Super Fight Division" - which doesn't exist yet, but sounds like it'll just be a couple cards per year on PPV with big fights outside of the regular season.

In this video, Paul claims to have offered Nate Diaz a two-fight deal, with the first matchup inside the squared circle (boxing) and the rematch in the cage (MMA) six months later. 

If that's true, I honestly don't see why Nate Diaz wouldn't sign on the dotted line immediately, because that seems like big money (especially with the proposed 50% revenue share for fighters in the PFL's "Super Fight Division") and it gives Diaz an easy chance to come out on top with the MMA fight being the second one. There's gotta be some kinda catch to that, right? It almost seems too good to be true.

Anyway, I actually met Jake Paul about five years ago when he came into Barstool HQ2 to film this Team Portnoy video....

….and I remember thinking he was an alright dude off camera, but man was he INSUFFERABLE once the red light turned on. Especially back then, when being an obnoxious 'YouTuber' was his whole bread and butter - it was nuts. Almost embarrassing to be in the room during. 

In that moment, I actually thanked my lucky stars that I was Barstool's MMA guy and not Barstool's "pop culture guy" or something so didn't have to cover stuff like Jake Paul's buffoonery. I saw the disgust on Ria and Fran's faces any time they had to talk about him and his "Everyday, bro" antics on Chicks in the Office and wanted no part of that.

In the five years that followed, however, this motherfucker very quickly became one of the most talked about names in combat sports; making a name for himself in that space by defeating retired UFC fighters and picking fights with the UFC President. 

Even still, I've tried to pick and choose my spots when it comes to coverage of this shit - because I truly don't give a flying fuck about Jake Paul's boxing career - but also have a job to do at some point! 

Now, apparently I have a full fledged Jake Paul MMA career to worry about! I can't not cover that as the MMA guy! Fuck! You gotta be kiddin me! I'm the "Jake Paul" guy now?!?! 

My overall thoughts on this signing? I think it's brilliant for the PFL. 

As I just said, Jake Paul is one of the most talked about names in combat sports whether we like it or not. Jake's gonna bring A LOT of eyes to the league through social media alone, and he'll be taking shots at Dana White every step along the way, trying to highlight every which way the PFL is better for fighters than the UFC - as he already begun doing in this video. 

Do I really believe he's going to fight in the PFL, though? I honestly don't know. I haven't come to a conclusion on that yet. I've got more faith in Jake Paul doing this than say, Dillon Danis ever fighting again, but that doesn't say much now does it? I just can't visualize it. 

I know Jake wrestled in high school, and the PFL could surely find a couple tomato cans rough enough to give Jake an easy win in his debut (maybe a retired boxer in MMA, the reverse of his usual opponent formula?), but I still feel like I gotta say I'll believe it when I see it. 

Credit to the PFL for delivering on their promise to make waves in 2023 just a few days into the year, though! They did it, alright!

P.S. I'm absolutely shocked that Jake Paul isn't going in on Dana White over everything this week. He's almost been too quiet in that he's got me wondering what he's planning. I think he's the only Dana White rival who hasn't taken a victory lap.