The lines between entertainment and sport have seen some significant blurring over recent times as reality tv celebrities and influencers move from their respective ‘careers’ into contact sports and if played correctly can equate to some very significant pay days.
The Ex-Geordie shore star made the switch from reality TV to MMA back in 2017 and quickly went on to join well known promotion Bellator. Aaron’s MMA record boasts 7 fights with 5 wins and 2 losses. At 33 years old Chalmer’s chose to make the switch into professional fighting relatively late but has earned the respect of fans and professionals alike with his approach and professionalism thus far.
26 year old American YouTube personality Logan Paul got a taste of the spoils that a big ticket boxing match can bring when he fought fellow YouTuber KSI back in 2019 with both personalities reported to have made $900,000 each.
This counted as a ‘professional’ fight in which Logan Paul lost so his professional record currently stands at 1 loss.
This has not stopped the ‘hype machine’ from whipping up interest in a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. with an exhibition fight scheduled for June 6th, 2021.
Giving credence to the notion that pairing a large following on a social media platform equates to enough interest in an event under the banner of a ‘professional sporting event’. This interest translates to a very substantial financial reward for the ‘fighters’ involved. Regardless of previous experience in the field.
Following his older brother’s footsteps is Jake Paul, 24 year old YouTuber who has found a big audience willing to watch him fight.
His first ‘professional fight’ was in January, 2020 fighting fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib.
He then went on to fight ex-NBA player Nate Robinson later in the year.
Most recently Jake Paul fought retired MMA Fighter Ben Askren in April, 2021.
Jake Paul has won all 3 of his professional fights against a fellow YouTuber, retired NBA player and a retired MMA fighter.
Perhaps one of the earlier transitions from one form of sports entertainment to professional fighting was 43 year old American-Canadian ex-pro wrestler who entered MMA in 2007.
Lesnar was a big name in the world of WWE for many years and made the switch to MMA joining the prestigious K1 league.
He soon joined the pinnacle leagues of the MMA world in 2008 becoming part of the UFC and retired in 2018, holding the UFC heavyweight championship title in the process.
During his UFC tenure Lesnar fought well renowned opponents at the height of their profession such as Randy Coutre and Frank Mir
The ‘Notorious’ took a very well paid detour from the UFC to have a professional boxing match against hall of famer Flloyd Mayweather jr. Both being paid around $30m and $100m respectively for their participation.
Last weekend of one of the biggest boxing fights in over a year between Canelo Álvarez and Billy Joe Saunders occurred, with multiple titles on the line from both fighters (WBA (Super), WBC, WBO, and The Ring super middleweight titles) it was a thrilling spectacle ending in an exciting 8th round stoppage from an expert uppercut delivered by Canelo.
But a few days earlier in the press run-up to their upcoming fight there was a minor scuffle between the camps of Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul – This was widely picked up by the media and eclipsed the coverage for the Canelo Saunders fight.
Many ask how it is possible a scuffle between a close to retired boxing hall of famer and a YouTuber (which involved the latter taking off the former’s cap and running away with it) could ever eclipse a multiple title championship fight?
Is the future of professional fighting the crossover of social media stars into the ring / Octagon and does it leave the professional fighters and champions of today trailing second in coverage and interest?