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Hearn: Jake Paul is a ‘disaster’ for UFC

Eddie Hearn feels slightly guilty for the monster Jake Paul has become in the combat sports world. But, at the same time, he believes the 25-year-old has provided plenty of positives.

The boxing promoter ran the show where Paul made his professional boxing debut in 2020. A YouTuber vs. YouTuber clash, Paul came out victorious with a first round technical knockout of “AnEsonGib” Ali Loui Al-Fakhri.

Throughout these past two years, Paul has poked and prodded at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, as well as several big-name mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters. Paul has continually advocated for fighter pay and gone as far to help out former UFC flyweight, Sarah Alpar, with her last training camp.

“There will be more pressure on the organization as time goes by, especially with the voice and noise of someone like Jake Paul,” Hearn said on MMA Fighting’s The MMA Hour. “Jake Paul’s a disaster for those guys. [He is sincere], but also I think he’s got a bee in his bonnet and he’s having fun with it, and I think he’s on a mission. But do I think he feels that UFC fighters are underpaid? Yeah, for sure.”

Drama has been the theme surrounding the Paul brothers since their ventures into boxing. Things began as a full-blown circus, and arguably still are. But, as time goes on and the ex-Vine star continues to rack up wins over actual fighters, it makes things all the more interesting.

“Dana would have been fuming. He should never have gone back to Jake Paul,” Hearn said. “It’s the last thing you do — do a video addressing Jake Paul. Just don’t do it. Just leave it. But isn’t it what we want? We want views, we want interest, we want drama, we want confrontation, we want hype, we want narrative. That’s our jobs, isn’t it? So I think they complement each other in that respect.”

Love him or hate him, Paul has managed to bring an attention boost to boxing. The story and concept of the entire spectacle have been a difficult pill for many to swallow — fans, media and fighters alike.

All walks of life have now found interest in combat sports, whether that’s just as Paul fans or to see him get knocked out someday.

“I think fighters, because of what they’ve sacrificed, sometimes hold it against Jake Paul and say, ‘Well, I’ve been grinding in the gym for 15 years!’ Yeah, but you’re not good enough and you haven’t built the profile that he’s built,” Hearn said. “Why shouldn’t he be allowed to do that? He’s put in the work in the gym. He’s fallen in love with the sport, genuinely, and I think he’s good for boxing. I think he brings a different kind of audience.”

Paul is currently undefeated (5-0) inside the ring with his most recent win coming in Dec. 2021 when he knocked out former UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley (watch highlights). After the fight, “The Problem Child” let it be known he’d be taking some time off, but has since kept his name in the mix by finding himself attached to MMA possibilities.

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