Heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson says that the UFC made boxing a dying sport before YouTubers, like Jake Paul, saved it.
Tyson returned from a 15-year layoff on Saturday night when he fought fellow veteran Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition boxing match that ended in a controversial draw. On the undercard of the event was a co-main event bout between the YouTuber Paul and former NBA player Nate Robinson. The brutal knockout by Paul became one of the most highly-viewed sports clips of the entire weekend. While there are certainly a lot of people talking about Tyson today, there are many also talking about Paul the YouTuber.
Speaking to reporters following his match against Jones Jr., Tyson said that fans and media need to respect YouTubers because they saved boxing from dying to the UFC.
“Listen, my ego says so many things. But my reality is that they helped boxing so much. Boxing owes these YouTube boxers some kind of, you know, respect. They should give them some belts because they make boxing alive. Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. The UFC was kicking out butts. Now we’ve got these YouTuber boxers and 25 million views. Boxing’s going back thanks to the YouTube boxers,” Tyson said.
There is a purist segment of combat sports fans who believe that no one except for trained professional fighters should step into the cage or the ring, but the Paul brothers and several other YouTubers have proven that fans will tune in if they have a vested interest in the competitors. Although YouTubers such as Paul are certainly not as polished or experienced as someone like Tyson is, the fact that a legend like Tyson has come out publicly and said the YouTubers saved boxing may give them more credit.
Do you agree with Mike Tyson that YouTubers saved boxing from dying after the UFC was winning the battle?