Social media influencer Jake Paul, aged 24, is looking to start his career as a professional fighter. After his win against former NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson, Paul has been calling out individuals in the UFC to fight him. One fighter at the top of his list, was two-time UFC champion Conor McGregor.
UFC President Dana White isn’t taking Paul seriously though, claiming “[Jake Paul] can’t fight. It’s all a big gimmick” in an interview with Shout! Podcast.
Instead, White suggested that Paul should fight female UFC champion Amanda Nunes. Upon hearing this, Nunes tweeted “I’m in!”. Despite Nunes’ enthusiasm, Paul refused to enter the ring with her, by responding, “waste of time. No one knows who she is” in an interview with TMZ Sports.
White speculates that Nunes would easily beat Paul in a fight, and that’s why Paul is scared to participate. Either way, the outcome of Paul’s decision isn’t good for the women’s division of the UFC. By refusing to take part, Paul is sending a message that women’s fighting is not to be taken as seriously as men’s, despite survey samples from the International Journal of Business and Social Science which have found that women can show as much aggression as men in MMA sports.
Ultimately, Paul’s hypocrisy of challenging the best to a fight, and declining based on the provided challenger’s gender is damaging to the reputation of women in violence-based sports. When given the chance to put the spotlight on a sport that isn’t based on the aesthetic of women, Paul missed the opportunity.