Jake Paul buys UFC parent company shares as Dana White feud over fighter pay escalates

Public comments haven’t yet had the desired effect so the fighter is seeking to make changes from within

Karl Matchett
Wednesday 26 January 2022 10:33
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Jake Paul has bought shares in Endeavour Group Holdings, the company which owns UFC.

The fighter has been calling for increases in benefits and earnings for athletes within the sport, particularly butting heads with Dana White, UFC president.

Now, Paul has opted to take the fight from within, becoming a shareholder alongside his partner Geoffrey Woo to, as he explains, affect change in UFC’s approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues.

Their plan appears to stem around convincing other activists and investors to join in with the attempt to change matters inside UFC, with Paul tagging Engine No1 in a tweet announcing his move - an “impact investment group” which looks to drive “positive impact through active ownership”.

“I’ve invested in EDR (UFC) stock with my partner @geoffreywoo [to] focus on UFCs ESG standards relating to fighters. We believe EDR can drive long-term economic value by increasing UFC fighter pay [and] providing them healthcare. Reaching out to @EngineNo_1 to partner on this ‘endeavor’,” he wrote on Twitter.

Sports business reporter Darren Rovell described the move as a “perfect blow”, suggesting it would be “uncomfortable for Dana to respond to this” decision from one of the biggest names in UFC.

Paul recently urged UFC to “pay fighters more” and saying “I can’t stress enough how bad this is” after sharing a document claiming the total combined payout for UFC 270 fighters was $1.8million, compared to a $50m packet shared between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury for a single match-up - their trilogy fight toward the end of 2021, which Fury claimed victory in.

Shares in EDR stock have dropped around 19 per cent from the start of the year to close of business on Tuesday, amid a wider market sell-off.

Francis Ngannou recently alleged that he had been threatened by UFC that they would sue his agents for being in discussions with Jake Paul over a potential boxing match. Ngannou, the winner of UFC 270, has been in a stand-off with UFC over any contract extension as he looks for better conditions similar to those Paul has advocated.

“The term of the contract, everything that they put into [it], they hold you like in captivity,” he said.

“You can’t do anything, you have no rights. The contract is one-sided. You don’t even have health insurance while you’re doing this, putting your body on the line to put on the show. Risking everything. I just want to be free. We are supposedly independent contractors. [An] independent contractor is technically a free person.

“That’s the reason why they need some adjustments in that contract. That’s what I’ve been fighting for.”

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