This year, the fighter pay debate has become pretty synonymous with two individuals: “The Problem Child” and “The Predator.” While Ngannou has suggested he’s an instance of MMA’s premier promotion stifling its fighters contractually, Paul is on the other end of the spectrum, making immense money in the boxing ring while campaigning for improved remuneration for mixed martial artists.
At the same time as the 25-year-old has been slamming the UFC for its pay structure on social media and in interviews, the Cameroonian heavyweight has been locked in a contractual dispute with the promotion, one that could see him leave the organization at the end of the year.
Judging by the comments Ngannou made during an appearance on The Shop alongside Paul, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot of progress towards his demands has been made.
“This contract is f*cked up,” Ngannou said. “I don’t want to sign my life to somebody who doesn’t give me something in return. That doesn’t have any responsibility, they can decide whatever they want and cut you, they aren’t even obligated to give you fights. So what is the reason of signing this kind of contract?” (h/t MMA Mania)
Despite Paul expressing a similar sentiment, the pair weren’t on the same wavelength when it came to a solution. While the Cleveland native has repeatedly called for a fighters’ union, Ngannou doesn’t believe that athletes would come together for a common cause.
With that, Paul was ready and willing to reveal his union master plan.
Paul Expands On “Ultimate Goal” To Skeptical Ngannou
Like Ngannou, a number of other fighters have shared a similar view when it comes to the creation of a fighters’ union, including Julianna Peña. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion recently suggested that the issue with a union derives from the fact there will always be a fighter willing to replace someone for less pay.
For Paul, the solution is to, number one, collectively strike should the UFC take action against union fighters, and two, get the highest-paid athletes across both boxing and MMA involved, and collect large donations towards the union, which could then be dispersed among the lower-paid fighters.
“My ultimate goal is to create a fighters’ union,” Paul declared. “It needs to be done. And it seems impossible and maybe it will be. People say, ‘Jake, how you going to create a fighter union? They’ll just shelf all the fighters in the fighters’ union.’ No, everyone comes together and we’re not fighting. We’re not fighting. That’s how they do it. There’s writer’s guilds, director’s guilds.
“I’ll call upon the 10 highest-paid boxers and the 10 highest-paid people from the UFC. ‘Yo why can’t you donate $200,000 to the union to help pay these fighters for these six months?’ Are you that selfish? Floyd Mayweather, Canelo, who make $50 million for a fight. Canelo, you can’t donate $200,000 to this union?”
To achieve his apparent fighter pay dream, Paul said he’d even be willing to donate up to $1 million of his own cash to the cause. Given the way that he spread extra funds throughout his undercard last August, that pledge certainly doesn’t come as a surprise.
“I’ll donate $500,000, I’ll donate $1 million,” Paul concluded. “I could raise more than that. The money that we put into the union can help pay the fighters who aren’t getting paid as much in the interim.”
While some, including Alexander Volkanovski, Paddy Pimblett, and Al Iaquinta, have doubted the sincerity of Paul’s public pursuit, the creation of a fighters’ union, and an effective one at that, would certainly make it difficult to criticize “The Problem Child.”
What do you make of Jake Paul’s fighters’ union plan?