Former UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt has praised YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul for bringing attention to the “exploitative” nature of pay scale in the UFC. Athlete pay has long been a controversial issue in mixed martial arts.
Additionally, the UFC has been criticized for the contracts it ties its roster members to. Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou recently left the promotion to become a free agent after his demands for better pay were dismissed. Other competitors such as Tony Ferguson and Aljamain Sterling, have also spoken out against the promotion.
In a recent interview on The Casual Fan Experience, Hunt commended Paul for his financial success in combat sports and for putting a spotlight on the issue of UFC pay model.
“I think Jake Paul, like a lot of these guys, just talks a lot. If they bring eyes to it, it’s good. But the thing is, he hasn’t done anything in a lawsuit or put down a lawsuit because he hasn’t got a position to do it.”
“What he’s bringing to this is eyes, which is good. I feel it’s good,” Hunt continued.
“I think it’s a good thing that he’s making serious money (in boxing), because it goes to show how these UFC fighters are getting exploited.”
Jake Paul has been one of the most vocal critics of UFC President Dana White and the promotion. His remarks have split opinions among active and former UFC competitors. However, Hunt believes that Paul has been valuable in bringing attention to the issue.
Paul has looked to move beyond talk and is now trying to put his money under the banner of the PFL. He has signed a multi-year deal with the PFL and co-founded the Super division. This creation will employ a 50/50 revenue split between stars and the promotion. This is something that Paul has long called for the UFC to implement.
On the other hand, Hunt has been embroiled in a legal dispute with the UFC since 2017 over his bout with Brock Lesnar. Additionally, has also been very vocal regarding the promotion’s treatment of its stars. He even recently suggested that his fellow competitor Alexander Volkanovski is being “ripped off.”.
” “It’s a f*cking ripoff. For me, guys like Volk, (Robert) Whittaker, Tai (Tuivasa); all the guys from the Oceania area that work for the UFC are all getting ripped off. When you’re the world champion like Volkanovski, he’s getting ripped off. Tell me he’s not. It’s a shame — actually, I shouldn’t say shame, it’s a problem.”