Conor McGregor criticised for allowing Jake Paul to lead row over fighter pay

MMA legend Randy Couture has slammed Conor McGregor for doing less in the fight for equitable fighter pay than Jake Paul.

YouTube star Paul is a widely controversial figure in the combat sports, and has angered a number of key figures in the world of mixed martial arts.

But his detractors have had to begrudgingly accept that his fight to get ex-UFC competitors paid better is a noble pursuit, and has benefitted the likes of Ben Askren already.

Askren made a career-high purse for his boxing fight with Paul, more than any one of his three UFC bouts, two of which were on pay-per-view.

And former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is likely to earn seven figures as a base pay rate for the first time in his career, including six title fights of which five he entered as champion, when he faces off with the YouTube star on August.

“Why is Jake Paul the one to step up and poke Dana and shine a light on what’s going on and the difference between our sports?" Couture asked.

"What the Ali Act does for boxers that doesn’t happen for the rest of us in combative sports, and I think that’s what needs to change.

"If it takes Jake Paul to run his mouth and get that done, then great – as long as it gets done.

"It just seems kind of crazy to me that it’s coming from there and we as athletes in mixed martial arts can’t come together and can’t hold these promoters to a higher standard and create the transparency that we need in the sport."

And Couture believes that McGregor should have made more of an issue of fighter pay when he left MMA briefly in 2017 to fight Floyd Mayweather.

The Irishman reportedly made a 9-figure sum to face Mayweather, and Couture believes that he could have cut the UFC out of the deal given the Muhammad Ali Act.

The Ali Act is an American law that protects fighters from a variety of factors, but it only applies to boxers, not mixed martial artists as yet.

McGregor has managed to defy all of the rules that generally apply to top MMA fighters and is now the richest athlete in the world, earning more over the last year than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.

“The guy that really had a chance to shine a light on it was Conor McGregor," Couture continued.

"He got a boxing license [to fight Mayweather]; as soon as he got a boxing license, he rendered his UFC contract null and void.

"He had the protections of the Muhammad Ali Act when he became an official boxer with that boxing number and he chose to bring Dana White and company back into that fight.

"He could have done all that on his own, kept all that money to himself and shined a light on the problem in mixed martial arts.

“He chose not to do that, he made $100 million off that fight with Floyd Mayweather and that’s more than he’ll probably ever in mixed martial arts to be truthful."

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