While Jake Paul had already made a name for himself by knocking out Deji Olatunji, AnEsonGib and Nate Robinson, most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans came to be aware of him when he flatlined Ben Askren in their April 2021 fight (watch highlights). That was also a big night for Paul financially: reports had Askren vs. Paul selling 1.5 million pay-per-view (PPV) units.
Paul’s most recent spectacle against Anderson Silva didn’t perform as well. On a recent episode of his brother Logan’s ImPaulsive podcast, Jake lamented that the fight only did around 200,000 PPV buys. Any event that hits six figures in PPV sales is a success to most smaller promoters, but Paul was clearly hoping to be closer to one million.
“The Problem Child” blamed a busy fall sports schedule, plus rumors that Silva had been knocked out twice in training. Askren, Paul’s former opponent, had a more simple answer: people no longer care what Jake is up to because they don’t know where he’s going.
“I don’t think [Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz] is that big,” Askren told Submission Radio. “I think people were interested in, ‘Can this guy Jake actually fight’ and now that he’s established that he’s at least alright, people aren’t that interested. It’s like ‘He can fight, he’s a pretty good boxer, but I’m out.’ People get really into people’s stories or following their paths.
“When they’re going for a title, it’s like, ‘Oh this is this up-and-comer and he’s on his way to fight for a title’ and they start following that journey that athlete is making,” Askren continued. “Right now, Jake’s journey seems to be meandering a little bit. Where is he going? What is the end goal? Nobody really knows and without a clear path to follow that’s where a lot of fans get lost.”
Askren also believes there’s less mystery to how a Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz fight would go now that Paul has beaten the much larger Anderson Silva. Not that it would stop Jake from setting up the fight.
“I mean I don’t know why anyone would think that Nate has much of a chance given what just happened,” Askren said. “Nate’s a lot smaller. I don’t think anyone would consider Nate on the level of striker that Anderson is, but yeah I guess it might happen.”
It could be that a lot of people were paying to see Paul get taken out by a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. But, you can only trick fans into thinking that’s going to happen so many times before they realize they’re just giving their money to someone they hate. Without an element of danger that just doesn’t come against people 30 years older or 30 pounds lighter, Paul may have trouble drawing in the considerable hater contingent to keep watching him compete.
What do you think, Maniacs? Is there anyone you’d pay to see Jake Paul box, or are you over the whole thing?