The Professional Fighter’s League turned heads with the surprise announcement that Jake Paul signed with the promotion to make his mixed martial arts debut in early January. As 2023 winds down, the social media influencer turned professional boxing star has yet to appear in the PFL with no official bookings on the horizon. According to Donn Davis, the company’s founder, it hasn’t been from a lack of trying.
In an appearance on “The MMA Hour With Ariel Helwani,” Davis revealed that the PFL has tried to secure the services of Nate Diaz to welcome Jake Paul into the world of mixed combat. However, according to Davis, the former UFC lightweight challenger has appeared reluctant to sign on the dotted line after suffering a lopsided defeat to Paul in a boxing match this past August.
Nate Diaz’s Big Offer for Jake Paul Rematch
While Davis called for Nate Diaz to “stop weaseling out and complaining” he did attempt to soften the harsh criticism.
“I respect Nate. He’s the people’s champ. He’s a man’s man. He’s as stand-up as all stand-up, but he said, ‘I’d do it in the PFL SmartCage’ two minutes to you after the fight,” he told Helwani. “He’s got a standing offer of between 10 and 15 million and he’s hiding behind a rock,” Davis continued.
$10 to $15 million would represent five to 7 ½ times what the TUF winner’s reported guaranteed purse was for his rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202. With that type of money of on the line, Davis chalks up the lack of commitment from Nate Diaz as a sign of a much harder hurdle to conquer in negotiation. “You either don’t care about the money, or you’re scared about the fight or there’s some other agenda,” he said.
Last week, Jake Paul responded to rumors about a second boxing match between them with a tweet from his Most Valuable Promotions X account stating that he accepted an offer from the PFL to face Diaz in the SmartCage.
Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz for $0?
When discussing that dollar amount exceeding the overwhelming majority of MMA fights at the highest level, Davis offered a peak into the strategy behind PFL’s high-profile acquisitions such as Jake Paul and former UFC champion Francis Ngannou. The ultimate goal is not to turn a profit, but to avoid taking losses while establishing the brand in the public consciousness.
“Essentially what we’re willing to do for the biggest fights in the world, not all fights but the biggest fights in the world, is we’re willing to break even and move the money to the fighters. We’re on record for pay-per-view super fights at the highest level, Francis, Jake, or Nate will break even and not make one penny for a few of those fights,” Davis said.
“So, all the money that’s being made by other companies off the backs of fighters, we’ve stepped up and said, ‘we’re going to move some pay-per-view money to you guys on a true 50/50 revenue split.’ When you do that and you put on big, big productions that’s very sexy and entertaining for fans, there’s no money left,” he continued.
Davis claimed that while the PFL has “40 to 45%” of the UFC’s audience, its novice status in the pay-per-view market means the company has some work to do. He points to the level of talent and production value as high points while admitting “nobody has heard of” the promotion.
“We need to tell people ‘Check it out’ because once they check it out, they don’t leave. We’ve got to raise the brand profile.