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Jake Paul’s Perfect Match: Inside the PFL Pay-per-view Super Fight Division

The PFL signed Jake Paul — now what? Boardroom has a full rundown of what you need to know about its new PPV Super Fight project.

Earlier this month, the Professional Fighters League announced its new “PFL PPV Super Fight Division,” an ambitious project that includes an exclusive partnership with viral video star, fighter, and promoter Jake Paul. The new division provides a historic 50% revenue split for fighters, accelerating the organization’s mission to innovate and grow the global sport of mixed martial arts. Safely put, the intrepid company takes pride in marching to the beat of its own drum.

Steering far from the traditional practices of rival MMA promoter organizations, the PFL intends to vault full-speed into industry disruption — perhaps most intriguingly, the PPV Super Fight model promises a 50-50 revenue split between the company and its participating athletes. In doing so, it hopes to create the next big thing in mixed martial arts, with Paul — already the most successful influencer-turned-pro boxer the fight game has seen — serving as a fighter, recruiter, and promoter.

Paul will enter the Super Fight Division on a multi-year deal as Head of Fighter Advocacy and its first official athlete signing. Alongside business partner Nakisa Bidarian, he has been entrusted with recruiting and developing talent for the PPV Super Fight division. Additionally, Paul will leverage his proficiency as a social media marketer to publicize and develop content for over 21.5 million followers on Instagram, 204.4 million on YouTube, and 17.1 million on Tik Tok.

Bidarian, formerly the UFC’s Chief Financial Officer, will assist with the league’s operations and strategic approach to pay-per-view events.

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Quick Facts on the PFL PPV Super Fight Division

  • Fighters participating in the Super Fight division will earn 50% of event PPV revenues.
  • ESPN will be the division’s national broadcast partner in the United States through 2023, with DAZN carrying events internationally
  • PFL will use its normal weight classes in the Super Fight Division (so don’t expect any unsanctioned madness!)
  • PPV Super Fight Division matches can potentially include any active fighter on the PFL roster. No fighter will be forced to pick between Super Fight and the traditional PFL regular season/postseason competition
  • PFL will stage two PPV Super Fight events starting in 2023, scaling to more PPV events in the following years
  • The division’s roster will consist of a mixture of the PFL’s top-ranked fighters and notable pop culture and entertainment figures like Paul

The Jake Paul Effect

Sure, the infusion of a massive, built-in social following and an ex-UFC executive would boost the business of any venture — but why choose Paul specifically for this endeavor? Truth be told, “The Problem Child” has been a vocal advocate for changing the landscape of fighter pay long before stepping into the ring with the likes of Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley.

Before Paul’s first amateur boxing match in 2018, the former Vine (RIP, we miss you!) superstar challenged everyone from Conor McGregor to Nate Diaz to Jorge Masvidal to fights via social media. Relatively low MMA fighter pay was his bargaining chip as he attempted to lure UFC superstars into the boxing ring; in return, with the help of brother Logan, a modern era of influencer boxing was born. Ever since, the Pauls have consistently claimed that their real and hypothetical boxing opponents would earn far more in the ring than any incumbent UFC champion on the roster could earn in the octagon.

None of those three fights have come to fruition, but Jake Paul’s advocacy for fighter pay remains. According to financial reporting documents from parent company Endeavor, UFC fighters earn less than 20% of the company’s total revenues, even when ticket sales and sponsorships are taken into account. That head-turningly low percentage — unionized professional team sports in the US tend to check in right around a 50-50 split — remains a hot-button topic in the sport, spearheaded in recent years by fighters like Francis Ngannou, Jon Jones, and Masvidal, who have at times threatened retirement from the sport in voicing their desires for bigger paydays more in line with championship-level boxing.

The PFL PPV Super Fight Division aims to make progress on this issue by making fighters in the division more direct partners in its business. Continuing their intended theme of disruption, the 50% revenue split has a real chance to entice fighters entering free agency with the power of choice rather leaving them to feel legally bound to any number of rival organizations.

Speaking to Boardroom, PFL Chairman and Founder Donn Davis told fans everything they need to know about the PPV Super Fight Division and the details of Jake Paul’s involvement as a fighter, recruiter, and promoter — stay tuned this weekend for the full conversation.

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