During promotional material for DAZN’s ‘One Night: Joshua vs. Ruiz’ rematch, Logan Paul claimed his fighting future is in the world of MMA.
Controversial YouTube star Logan Paul isn’t done with the fight world just yet. After doing huge numbers with fellow YouTuber KSI, Paul told DAZN that his future is in MMA. He spoke candidly, telling Lauren Gardner that “Boxings cool, but I feel like my future’s in MMA”.
The comment came after Gardner asked Paul what he was talking to MMA legend Tito Ortiz about. Ortiz, Paul, Sylvester Stalone, and others were on hand for the screening of DAZN’s “One Night”, something Stallone was an executive producer of. Sure enough, Ortiz would pop his head into the interview and offered to publically train Paul in grappling and Jiu-Jitsu.
Paul claims that his rematch with KSI was more watched than the first Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz fight. Should that claim be true, and seeing how well the first one did with YouTube, it’s not hard to fathom such a claim. So the question turns from ‘if Paul is fighting again?’, to ‘where Paul will be fighting next?’ With his claim that he’ll be in MMA, and the amount of attention that’ll bring to any promotion, it would make sense that everyone, yes even the UFC, would want to go get him.
With his partnership with DAZN, debuting in Bellator seems likely. That leads us to the next question; should he? Is Paul, or his brother for that matter, getting into MMA a good thing for the sport and the company in which he signs with? Short answer, yes.
It might hurt some to acknowledge this, but MMA is a business. It’s all about putting butts in seats and selling pay per views or subscriptions. In the UFC’s case; both. With the idea of such a big celebrity like Logan Paul coming into the MMA space, that brings more eyes. More potential new fans. If he spends a few months training for MMA, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind he could come in and smash some local-yocal for an easy win.
It may “taint” the sport to some, but just look at the UFC to see the template for tainting the sport. You have men accused of sexual violence, other men who have hit women, fighters of all genders cheating in the ring and out of it. It’s run by a man who spends as much time insulting his own fighters as he does finding new ways to excuse not paying them their worth.
Yet, Paul is the line? No, if the world has allowed the UFC to exist in its current space with as many nefarious and controversial decisions as they’ve allowed, certainly the space is capable of handling a Paul brother. Paul would be a ratings winner, mostly because he’d generate what pro wrestling fans call “heel-heat”. The MMA fan will want to see him lose, so they’ll buy his fights and his fanbase will want to see how well he can do, so they’ll buy his fights. Either way you slice it they’re buying his fights.
He might not be Georges St-Pierre, but if he can help bring eyes to the Ilima-Lei Macfarlane’s and Ryan Bader’s of the industry, why not? Bellator has talked to others in the past about coming in, names from other sports, like pro wrestling’s Jake Hager. He’s currently working his way through the Bellator heavyweight rankings. Same with former NFL player, turned UFC fighter Matt Mitrione. There were even talks of former NFL All-Pro Shawne Merriman being discussed to join the brand in the past. So why not someone who’s already brought in big numbers in a combat sport?
No one is claiming Paul will become a legend or has the talent to even win or win frequently. One can’t deny however that Paul is a strong enough personality that people would tune in and when new money enters a business then everyone profits. So the only real question that remains isn’t ‘should he?’ but ‘when will he?’