With the Super Bowl of the influencer fight scene set for Saturday, has Danis’ omnipresent trolling succeeded? And is the winner of Saturday’s Misfits Prime Card main event between KSI and Tommy Fury a lock to fight Jake Paul next? Join MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew, Steven Marrocco, and Shaun Al-Shatti as they look ahead to a weird and wild weekend.
1. Has Dillon Danis’ trolling of Logan Paul made you interested in this fight?
Al-Shatti: I mean, I guess? I’ll admit I’m a bit of an old head who has very little interest in watching Logan Paul do much of anything. (With an exception made for pro wrestling, he’s obviously very good at that.) But I’m also someone who grew up reveling in the dumbest and weirdest circus fights the primordial MMA scene could dream up (thank you Nobuyuki Sakakibara!), so I’m certainly not above tuning into two goofy non-boxers who despise one another try to separate the other from consciousness, especially when one is as big of a goober as Danis is and the other is as driven by righteous fury as Paul likely is.
Danis has obviously been a terrible person to make the badgering of an opponent’s romantic partner the entire focus of his promotional campaign for Oct. 14, but it’s hard to say he hasn’t accomplished his goals. Nine months ago, Danis was the laughingstock of the internet after pulling out of yet another fight. And today, somewhat miraculously, not only is he seemingly the darling of the comments section, his grudge match with Paul is also incontestably the bout people care about more of Saturday’s “double main event.”
Plenty of wars have been fought over this trope — “Wait … you said WHAT about my romantic partner???” — so sure, to answer the original question, Danis’ tactics worked in that I had zero interest in this fight before, but now have a spoonful of morbid interest in seeing whether he pays for his words or rides off into the Manchester night cackling at actually getting away with all of this. (Well, aside from the court battles surely in his future.)
Meshew: Nope. Not even a little bit. And there are two big reasons for that.
First, I still don’t believe this fight is going to happen. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 537 times, shame on me. I believe that’s how that old adage goes, and since this is roughly the 538th time Dillon Danis has “signed on to fight some one,” I’m operating under the assumption that it’s all a fraud until after the fight has taken place.
Second — and more importantly — why would I care? Don’t get me wrong, I like a clown car calamity as much as the next guy (you’re talking to one of the biggest proponents of Fight Circus in the world, after all), but what is the appeal to this matchup? Logan Paul has never been an impressive boxer, and he doesn’t speak to me personally, so there’s not much draw there. And on the other side, Dillon Danis is the worst kind of annoying, the kind you don’t even care enough to pay to see lose.
If this fight does end up happening, and they both make a king’s ransom, good for them. Keep cashing them checks is the motto which we all should live by. But this matchup genuinely has nothing to offer me. If you disagree, I’m happy for you to enjoy it. Let me know how it goes.
Marrocco: I’m somewhere in the middle. Morbid curiosity would be a good way to describe it, because yes, I’m a human, and I’m just as much a sucker for cheap and tawdry drama as I am for PBS documentaries. I write about people punching other people in the face for a living — I’m not above the fray.
At the same time, I can’t help but look at the bigger picture. The drama Danis created in the name of selling this fight was largely not about Paul, but about Paul’s fiancee and their relationship. It came at the expense of an innocent bystander. And if you read those two last words and thought, “Yeah right, innocent bystander,” I suspect you’re part of the reason why Danis has turned from heel to hero so quickly. If you’re interested in this fight because you enjoy seeing a conventionally beautiful supermodel humiliated, I think you should take a good look at why that is. Jealousy? Misogyny? Couldn’t be!
I don’t know what’s more distasteful: Danis’ approach, Paul’s acknowledgement in a recent interview that it’s good promotion for the fight, or the entirely unsubstantiated (and yet sadly plausible) allegation from Danis that Agdal is looking to leverage this into bigger things. Yikes. Not a lot of sympathetic characters to go around here.
So yeah, it’s all kind of gross. At the same time, what else were they supposed to sell — their robust combat sports résumés? Make no mistake, Danis and Paul won’t be pretty in the ring — a couple of sloppy, spirited exchanges, then a lot of huffing, puffing, and clinching. For all that “interest,” this will be just another crappy influencer fight. If it gets a lot of people to click buy, the ends will justify the means for the promoters. But there’s also one thing they should consider: The people who enjoy this type of stuff are often the ones who stream it illegally.
2. Is Jake Paul the next fight for the winner of KSI vs. Tommy Fury?
Marrocco: Looking at Jake Paul’s advertisement to fight Canelo, I’m starting to wonder about that. Sure, I think he wants the satisfaction of getting revenge on Fury. But I can also see him putting that off in favor of another MMA crossover or a fight with a legitimate boxing star like Canelo; both have larger bases of paying customers and will make him more money. And if locusts swarm the earth and Canelo agrees, that’s ready-made legitimacy along with a huge paycheck.
Paul facing the winner of KSI vs. Fury makes some kind of sense in this whacky world. But at end of the day, he wants to be bigger than his influencer roots. He wants to be a legitimate boxing superstar, and I’m not sure either one of those options gets him closer to that. If they happen next, it’s because he’s been unsuccessful convincing an A-sider to face him in the ring.
Al-Shatti: I tend to lean toward yes, if only because I have a hard time seeing what else is out there for Jake Paul that is both, A) realistically obtainable (aka not Conor McGregor), and B) a bigger fight. Thus is the reality of the web Paul has woven for himself. If Anderson Silva was the functional climax of the Jake Paul vs. MMA storyline, the detour to beat up Nate Diaz just 10 months later felt mostly like postscript; the type of fight that, even in the moment, was widely understood and accepted in regards to why it was happening for either party. (In other words: $$$$$.) I just don’t know how much more blood there is left to squeeze from this stone for Paul considering the available options out there.
But the winner of KSI vs. Fury? It feels inevitable almost, doesn’t it?
Paul’s history with Fury explains itself. He won’t abandon this whole boxing chapter of his life without first trying to get that one back.
And as for KSI? I’m no Wade Plem with an encyclopedic knowledge of this scene, but I’ve certainly consumed enough over the past few years to understand that Paul vs. KSI is the natural endgame of the influencer boxing wave. The MayMac-esque matchup that all of this has been building toward, a mega-event that would instantly sell out an entire UK stadium and draw several million pay-per-view buys from the exact moment it’s first booked.
I’d wager good money that Paul fights both of these dudes before all is said and done, but it’d make a lot of sense if Saturday’s winner gets the first crack (or second in Fury’s case).
Meshew: If he’s not, then honestly, what the (Mike) Heck are we doing here? Isn’t the entire point of the “influencer boxing” fad inevitable matchups between Jake Paul and KSI, and Jake Paul and Conor McGregor? These are the fights people want to see, and if KSI beats Tommy Fury, then there truly is nothing left for him to do other than deliver on that for his fans.
KSI has been unequivocal in saying that his entire end game is a fight with Jake Paul. He probably could have done that without the Tommy Fury matchup, but I get why it’s happening. If he loses, nothing lost, and if he wins, it makes the Paul matchup bigger. But after this, Paul is the only thing left. Sure, he could fight other people and draw some interest because he’s very famous and that’s all that’s needed, but at some point you have to deliver on the promises made. If he wins, I fully expect that to be what’s next.
And on the other side of things, if Fury wins, he has nothing else to do. Fury is ostensibly “a real boxer,” but he’s not good enough to be any more than a pig for slaughter to a real contender, and he’s not famous enough on his own to, like, box Faze Temper and pull in numbers. Fury is a quality B side, and after KSI, the only viable As for him to mix it up with are Jake Paul again, and maybe Nate Diaz. Given than Paul is the bigger draw and there’s a built in storyline and rivalry, that’s what’s coming down the pipeline with a Fury win.