YouTube star Jake Paul said he's planning to release a diss track aimed at UFC president Dana White on Friday.
Paul, who's transitioned to the world of combat sports with a 5-0 boxing record, told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Thursday's edition of First Take he remains at odds with White about the issue of fighter pay:
"It's really about the fighters. You know, I've been in the gym and I've seen how hard these guys work and how mistreated they are and how underpaid all of them are. So, it's really about fighter pay and getting them health care, and poking the bear and disrupting his whole entire business. I'm dropping a diss track on Dana White tomorrow morning, so you will see that. And I'm not stopping any time soon.
"But this is about the fighters; I want to create a fighters' union. This is my goal, to really impact the whole entire sport, both MMA and boxing, and leave an everlasting stamp. And I just so happen to not be beholden to anybody. A lot of these UFC fighters are beholden to Dana White, they can't speak out against him. So, I'm using my platform because I'm one of the very few people who actually can. I'll say whatever, I'll speak the truth. So, I'm just doing my responsibility as a fighter and as someone who cares about other fighters."
Paul announced Tuesday he'd made an investment in Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., the parent company of the UFC, in a further effort to push for raising fighter pay and providing healthcare options:
Jake Paul @jakepaul
I’ve invested in EDR (UFC) stock with my partner <a href="https://twitter.com/geoffreywoo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@geoffreywoo</a> 2 focus on UFCs ESG standards relating to fighters. We believe EDR can drive long-term economic value by increasing UFC fighter pay & providing them healthcare. Reaching out to <a href="https://twitter.com/EngineNo_1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EngineNo_1</a> to partner on this “endeavor”
White previously called out Paul and his manager, Nakisa Bidarian, saying if they believe it's possible to build a more successful MMA promotion they are free to try.
"But if you two think you can do it better than we do, [that] we're doing the whole thing wrong and you're treating fighters better than we do, knock yourself out," White told reporters in early January. "Go start your own business, it's easy to do."
Paul has generated ample mainstream attention since venturing into the boxing world. While he's undefeated, he's yet to face a classically trained boxer.
His wins since turning pro have come against fellow YouTuber Ali "AnEsonGib" Al-Fakhri, former NBA guard Nate Robinson and a pair of former MMA fighters, Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, the latter of whom he's beat in his last two fights.
Although White has shrugged off the criticism, it's brought the topic of UFC fighter pay into the spotlight:
Andreas Hale @AndreasHale
The TOTAL combined payout for every fighter <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC270?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC270</a> was $1.8 million. <br><br>Fury made $30 million in his third fight against Wilder. <br><br>Wilder made $20 million. <br><br>Fury and Wilder made 25x more than all the UFC 270 fighters COMBINED. <br><br>Tell me that UFC fighter pay isn’t an issue. <a href="https://t.co/xYXxXLGvX8">pic.twitter.com/xYXxXLGvX8</a>
It's clear Paul isn't willing to back down from the topic, and his 20.4 million YouTube subscribers all but ensure the diss track will receive a lot of attention on Friday.
The key question is whether his continued efforts will lead to any significant support within the UFC fighter community.
White will also face the decision of whether to keep the war of words going or try to move on.