YouTube boxing and creator content clashes aren't going away. As we've noted during the upward trend of this offshoot of “real” fighting, the more outlandish the scenarios and behavior from the participants, the better. Maybe you saw all the chatter from that KSI-Joe Fournier Misfits madness this weekend?
From 15 year old content creators with fake accents challenging Dereck Chisora to significantly overweight men posing at their “weigh-in,” it's all part of the circus.
This world has gained plenty of attention and views from the vastly larger casual boxing audience. This has caused seriously talented fighters from pro MMA and Boxing, most of them long past their prime, to engage with social media standouts. Figuratively, and literally, too.
Banter with these content creators—fighters then saw stalwarts like Anderson Silva, Tyrone Woodley and Floyd Mayweather Jr have shared the ring with some of YouTube’s biggest stars. You know Floyd is fighting John Gotti III this summer? That inspired pairing came about because sideshow boxing has blown up, one could argue.
Some Of Us Are Still Puzzled That Creator Content Boxing Is Growing in Stature
The events were well received, too. OK, not by all. Some of you reading this are still in a mode of puzzlement. Why has this “freak show” side of the the fight world continued to gain in traction?
There have been MANY conflicting reports as to the business these events are doing. But they keep happening, which suggests they keep making money, at least for some people.
Boxing fans can be a fickle bunch, and they do not like the integrity of their sport compromised in the name of dollars. However, for some of these fighters who are past their prime, they’ll gladly welcome big dollars at little risk.
What profession in the world does a person not want more money for less work?
Reasons Why Creator Content and YouTube Boxing Thrives
So, pro boxing and “YouTube boxing” have coexisted for the past several years. Nobody has really made a case for why they shouldn’t. With DAZN feeding the machine and PPV subscribers footing the bill, many within boxing have benefited.
From fighters on the fringe to journalists to broadcasters and others in the media, this ride has provided jobs and opportunities for many within boxing.
After all, if people are watching and enjoying, then what’s the harm? I mean, if you’re not old enough to know what the Toughman Contest ism then Google it. But that thing aired for years.
KSI Fight Versus Fournier Showed Flaws in Recipe
However, the most recent Misfit Boxing event on DAZN PPV, featuring the promoter’s owner, KSI, against Joe Fournier, a professional fighter with a 9-0 record, showed the problem with the entire venture.
On paper, Fournier looked like the most serious fighter on KSI's resume to date, and that was how it was billed.
KSI was awarded the win via stoppage in the 2nd round, and the win set the London crowd on fire. But when the crowd at the OVO Wembley Arena got a chance to see the replay, it was clear that an illegal elbow was what really stopped Fournier in his tracks.
Fournier said as much in his post-fight interview, but KSI was adamant that it was his glove that caught his 40-year-old opponent. KSI tried to keep the narrative going, and in a world of A.I., fake news, and face swap apps, I guess no one can blame him for trying.
Jake Paul Enters the Mix
It was not until the online backlash, stirred up by KSI rival Jake Paul, forced KSI into a statement acknowledging:
“I worked very hard for this fight and had an intense and grueling camp. There’s no better feeling than being in that ring and having my hand raised in front of my loyal and amazing fans who I appreciate so much.
“Unfortunately, the victory which was inevitable no matter what, is tarnished and I hate that. It sucks,” KSI Tweeted.
“After landing my overhand he was pretty much out on his feet, and I went for a short right hook as Joe clinched me and fell into me. I landed that hook and my glove made contact but appears to have been followed by unintentional contact with my forearm.”
Jake Paul is nobody’s avenger for boxing, and his motives for being vocal about KSI’s illegal elbow were probably selfish—KSI ridiculed Paul following his most recent loss to Tommy Fury. But it was Paul’s comments that led to the backlash.
Will Creator Content Simply Get Sillier and More Lawless?
KSI wanted to earn the win, that much is clear. But the integrity of his entire promotion and the venture of “YouTube Boxing” has been called into question.
Boxing is already a murky sport with rules that are often cherrypicked when it conveniently serves the narrative in play. If the basic rules and principles are flouted, then the line blurs between sport and sports entertainment.
No one suggests running this fight back, but if the promoter of an event is allowed to compete and his fights aren’t the gold standard then the entire venture feels like a farce.
In one of Jake Paul’s tweets following Saturday’s main event, he attacked KSI and his entire promotion, suggesting it may be time for the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control) to oversee Misfit Boxing events.
“Your whole promotion is sham,” Paul said on Twitter. “Bad look for the sport of boxing. Your ‘commission' PBA should hold itself to a higher standard.
“I hope England Boxing starts to oversee this product and makes it safer for everyone.”
Paul has a DLH-HBO type of deal with DAZN for dates to feature up-and-coming fighters under the banner of his Most Valuable Promotions.So, him speaking up is complicated.
Jake Paul Makes Some Good Points
He has a point, or two, and the fact that KSI and that bunch aren’t competing as pros is a way of subverting certain standards held in pro ranks. And while I can NEVER see a time where Deji is holding a legitimate title in the pro ranks, sanctioning these bouts at least takes control away from the money (kind of).
If YouTube Boxing is to live on, it needs a reminder that this is a sport and not an arena for online disputes, social media revenge, or fake Alpha tough guys.
I will always prefer to watch John Riel Casimero over “Salt Papi,” but my tastes should not be more important than the 12-year-old kids paying for these events.
What should be held over everything is consumer rights, and regardless of who is buying, the consumer (or guardians footing the bill) deserve to know exactly what they’re buying.
If KSI wants to continue to compete in one of the most unpredictable sports in the world, then he should do it by the standards that everyone competes in.
When Michael Jordan retired from basketball to play minor league baseball the game didn’t change to benefit Air Jordan. If they had made it illegal to throw him a curveball or bring the fence in by 100 feet then that’s not baseball.
Cancellation Is Unlikely, More Mayhem and Idiocy Is To Come
KSI being allowed to keep this win on whatever record it is written in will always be the highlight between actual pro boxing and that of an influencer money grab with gloves.
It is looking like this sort of material is here to stay.
Maybe that's an indictment of how the sport has been run, or mis-managed. We could debate that more.
Plenty of readers would vote for CANCEL if given the chance…but money is being made, so we expect more shenanigans.