Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren was one of the most talked-about combat sports events of 2021 to this point but it wasn’t as profitable as Triller would have liked.
According to the social media app turned boxing promotion, that’s because of rampant piracy. As a result, Triller has begun sweeping legal action against people it alleges played a part in the event’s proliferation across the internet. Triller is looking to recoup $100 million in revenue from over 100 people and 11 different websites. The sites are alleged to have broadcasted the event to over 2 million people, with some of the accused parties actually charging admission for their illegal streams.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 18, 2021
“It’s shocking to think a theft so grand can be done so blatantly and brazenly and steal with no remorse… It’s neither civilly nor criminally any different and we are prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. There were far over 2 million illegal streams, akin to hundreds of millions of dollars,” a Triller spokesman told MMA Fighting.
The spokesman further defended the suit by noting that the illegal streams weren’t just a hit to Triller, but a hit to the various individuals that contributed to the show. This is especially the case for Jake Paul, who likely received a cut of each pay-per-view purchase.
Methods for getting around pay-per-view have existed almost since its initial rollout through cable television. Instead of a descrambler or third-party cable box, people now look to bootleg streams on the internet to avoid the high costs of pay-per-views.
Though it’s easy to see why people would look to avoid dropping anywhere from $50 to $100 on a combat sports event, especially when there’s no guarantee it will be entertaining, there’s no denying that illegal streaming is a hard hit to the bottom line of those behind these shows.
Jake Paul’s knockout win over Ben Askren has made him one of the most buzzworthy individuals in combat sports. That largely stems from the utter hatred he inspires in MMA fans who were left frustrated by a YouTuber scoring a quick, easy win over a two-time champion in top organizations.
The thing is that Jake Paul now represents one of the largest possible paychecks available for UFC fighters, which has them lining up for the chance to face him in the ring. At the front of the line is former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier. Cormier spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and called out Jake Paul for an MMA fight and was looking to get him a bit worried.
Daniel Cormier explained his run-in with Jake Paul at #UFC261
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 27, 2021
“I’m going to torture him. I’m going to hurt him… I’m going to rip his face apart. I’m going to hurt the kid. I will teach these kids not to continue to do this with people like me, I will hurt this kid… I’m gonna choke him, I’m gonna elbow him. I’m gonna hurt him,” Cormier said.
Of course, there’s basically no chance that they actually come together for an MMA fight. In addition to the probable issues with actually getting the fight licensed, Paul has no reason to leave the boxing ring in favor of the cage where he would make less money and have a greater chance of losing.
Daniel Cormier has been angling for a fight with Jake Paul, but few of Paul’s fans actually know who he is.
Cormier is a highly decorated combat athlete, qualifying for the Olympic Games twice as a wrestler before transitioning into MMA in 2009. He quickly established himself as a contender but cemented his place among the heavyweight elites in 2012 by winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
He moved to the UFC in 2013 as a heavyweight, but dropped down to light heavyweight not long after. Though his run at 205 pounds is mostly remembered for his two losing efforts against Jon Jones, he functionally enjoyed a three-year run as light heavyweight champion from 2015 to 2018.
He returned to the heavyweight division in 2018 and defeated Stipe Miocic to become one of just a few fighters in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously. He defended the belt once before losing to Miocic in both the rematch and rubber match before retiring from competition.