Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz is the biggest fight this year (because MMA sucks)

Why did boxing become the place for a battle between BJJ black belt Nate Diaz and YouTube sensation Jake Paul?

By: Nate Wilcox | 1 month ago
Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz is the biggest fight this year (because MMA sucks)
Future Nate Diaz opponent Jake Paul. IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The fight business salivates over marquee matchups like Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul. Fights that will SELL. That means fights that the average normie will at least consider paying to see. That means factors like skill level, sporting significance and rankings don’t matter. 

Recent years have shown us that style of fighting doesn’t matter too. The UFC boom deceived many into believing that mixed martial arts was the secret sauce that appealed to a new generation of fight fans. But the success of celebrity boxing featuring Logan and Jake Paul and other internet influencers puts the lie to the MMA hype.

Bare-knuckle boxing is making moves

Bare knuckle boxing emerging as the last best payday for many beloved MMA veterans is another sick and sad kick in the teeth to those of us who believed in cage fighting’s potential to emerge as the next great fight sport. 

The UFC has monopsonized the sport of mixed martial arts. That means they are the only market for top-shelf MMA talent. A painful lesson Francis Ngannou is currently learning. He can’t get a fair share of the revenue out of Endeavor and no one else can sell MMA well enough to pay him market value for his skills.

What won’t work for Francis Ngannou may still work for Nate Diaz

Since that’s the case, he’s trying the market for a Conor McGregor style ‘UFC champ jumps to straight to the top of the card’ career move to sell himself as a boxing PPV attraction. That worked for Conor McGregor, the biggest star ever to emerge out of the UFC—and only against Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated boxing star of the decade. That worked once. For those guys.

It’s not going to work for Francis Ngannou.

Strangely enough, however, it will very likely work for Nate Diaz. At least after a fashion. Nate, because of the notoriety he earned after splitting a pair of bouts with McGregor in 2016, has one of the biggest name values in MMA. Unfortunately, despite that, he hasn’t fought at the highest levels of the UFC in a long time and probably never will again. 

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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