Jake Paul can’t impact the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) or the business practices of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) from the outside, so “The Problem Child” and his investors are buying their way through the front door.
The means to that end is scooping up stock in Endeavor, UFC’s parent company.
“I’ve invested in EDR (UFC) stock with my partner Geoffrey Woo to focus on UFC’s ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards relating to fighters,” Paul announced. “We believe EDR can drive long-term economic value by increasing UFC fighter pay and providing them healthcare. Reaching out to Engine No. 1 to partner on this ‘endeavor.’”
Engine No. 1 bills itself as an “impact investment group purpose-built to create long-term value by driving positive impact through active ownership.” That means investors don’t sit around waiting to get rich while the company does whatever the hell it wants.
Instead, shareholders get their hands dirty while promoting positive change.
“Jake is the archetype of the future, where individual transcends the machine,” Woo wrote on Twitter. “This is happening across all sectors — media, entertainment, & tech start ups where dynamic, innovative individuals & creators are bargaining toe-to-toe with the owners, the institutions, and the academy.”
“Who am I? I come from Silicon Valley & web3/crypto,” Woo continued. “Skin in the game, shared equity, and long-term alignment is the underlying incentive model that made Silicon Valley and crypto the most impactful business models of the last 20 years. We intend to apply these models to the UFC.”
UFC and promotion president Dana White have been criticized over the years for mistreating fighters and creating a toxic workplace. Paul, who recently teased a jump to MMA, has been one of the organization’s most outspoken critics.
“We believe the best way to accelerate this inevitable revolution is to lead it from within the UFC as co-owners & impact investors,” Woo said. “I invite likeminded shareholders, our Board, our largest institutional to the smallest individual owners of EDR/UFC to join Jake, Anti Fund, and I to drive management change to upgrade sport culture, whilst capturing outsized long-term equity value. It’s not just the right thing to do, but the profitable one.”
Sounds like Paul and Co. are really trying to make a positive change in the MMA industry. Or they could just want a piece of the $7 billion pie and decided to cook up some do-gooder excuse to avoid looking like money-grubbing hypocrites.