Shortly after Tyron Woodley finished his UFC contract, the former welterweight champion was already receiving a potential offer for a boxing match against YouTube superstar Jake Paul.
According to longtime Woodley manager Malki Kawa, CEO of First Round Management, the seeds of the fight were first planted in April when Ben Askren was preparing for his own showdown with Paul on a pay-per-view Triller. .
That night, Kawa had the opportunity to speak with Paul’s advisor, who also happens to be a former UFC executive, and this laid the groundwork for the start of negotiations.
“Jake Paul’s manager and I are going a long way from his UFC days,” Kawa explained while speaking to MMA Fighting. “When Jake Paul beat Ben Askren, I had Frank Mir on that card in Triller, and when Jake beat Ben like he did, a lot of people thought Ben started the fight and there was a lot hype around that. A lot of people actually gave Ben a chance, which I knew he didn’t have. I started talking to Nikisa [Bidarian] and started telling him ‘listen brother, you have to give him a legitimate opponent at some point.’ I kind of gave him my wisdom on how to handle someone and stuff.
“Usually a guy who is 3-0 should take his time and have opponents at his level, but when you make the kind of money he makes, get the kind of attention he gets, you can mess it up. Because if he kept fighting the Ben Askren guys – like saying he would have fought Dillon Danis, which doesn’t make any sense – I feel like people would have continued to think he was a joke and that it would have stopped.
While Kawa conceded that the boxing formula for completing a fighter’s record with wins in less than stellar competitions is not uncommon, Paul finds himself in a unique situation as he already commands a large audience of just three. fights in his career.
That’s when Kawa suggested that Woodley might be the next perfect opponent for the 24-year-old social influencer as he looked to face stiffer competition without going exactly into the background. boxing pool without a safety net still in place.
“Tyron Woodley is the perfect opponent,” Kawa said. “He’s 0-0 as a boxer, he’s a former UFC champion, he’s a little older but the guy has dynamite in his hands. He has boxed all his life. To train in boxing all his life. I think there was a time when Tyron was training in LA with Freddie Roach, so it’s not like you’re talking about someone who can’t box.
“I spoke to Nakisa and told her it was time to have a level playing field with someone who can box. He might not be a professional boxer, but this didn’t matter, for me it was just the perfect opportunity.
Kawa says Paul’s advisor was hesitant at first, but it didn’t take long for the whole team to buy into the idea, especially given the long-term goal of a career in boxing.
“I think Jake Paul realizes he needs a good opponent to take this next step,” Kawa said. “If he can beat Tyron, people really have to start paying attention to this guy.” I know we’re already paying attention, but I’m talking about taking it seriously.
Once the talks officially began, Kawa fought to get Woodley what he wanted in order to book the fight against Paul, but like any deal involving millions of dollars, nothing was settled without intense negotiation. .
Ultimately, Kawa was happy with the terms of the deal that will see Woodley make a seven-figure paycheck before he steps into the ring.
“He is paid very well,” Kawa said of Woodley’s contract. “This is one of the best deals I have ever done. For a guy in his situation, it was a huge deal. He gets a lot of base. He gets a share of the pay-per-view in the world. He’s involved in a lot of different things. He is expected to walk away with a multi-million dollar salary. Its basic guarantee is already in the millions. Add in all the extra stuff, it’s a really good paycheck.
“In this case, I worked with Nakisa, I worked with Stephen Espinoza, I gave them what I was looking for. We have been working both ways for quite a while. The shit got ugly sometimes, other times it was nice. We’ve just gotten to a point where we felt comfortable with it and Jake is probably making the lion’s share of the money which he is, but nonetheless Tyron it’s a very good day for him.
When the fight was announced on Tuesday, Woodley revealed he was making a bigger salary for his fight against Paul than any other fight in his career and that includes a long stint as the UFC welterweight champion.
Kawa backed up this claim while adding that when all is said and done, Woodley will walk away with a very high salary.
“He definitely got paid in his base guarantee more than he ever did in the UFC, whether as a champion or a non-champion, that’s a fact of the matter,” Kawa said.
Despite Woodley’s vast advantage over Paul in combat sports, the former UFC welterweight king still presented himself as a slight underdog for the boxing match scheduled for August 28 on Showtime pay-per. -view.
Woodley will face Paul after dropping out of the last four fights of his UFC career, but that doesn’t negate the kind of threat he poses in this game.
In fact, Kawa knows Paul respects the danger inherent in a fight like this, as his team negotiated an additional clause in the contract in case Woodley succeeds.
“Jake Paul’s team have negotiated an automatic rematch clause,” Kawa revealed. “That’s how scary a fight it is for them. If we win this fight, if Jake Paul wants it, then we have to take it back with him.
Of course, Kawa fully recognizes that winning, losing, or drawing, Woodley’s achievements in the UFC will far exceed anything that happens in a boxing match against Paul, but that doesn’t rule out the magnitude of that. fight when it comes to his overall CV.
Having the chance to bounce back from the recent losing streak while receiving the kind of global attention that will follow this event gives Woodley every possible incentive to achieve his best performance in years.
“This is a major, legacy fight,” Kawa said. “Could you imagine if Tyron Woodley lost his last four fights, come in, tear this guy down or say it’s a really good fight, Tyron take him out, go and have another rematch, get paid even more for the game?” revenge. Let’s say I beat him twice in a row and then decided to hang up the gloves forever.
“His legacy, although it is already cemented, takes it to another level and that is why we were paid what we were paid and for Tyron it also ignites him because it is something completely different, it’s something new to train for and i think it’s an opportunity to erase the last four fights, that’s what we decided to do with this deal.