Jake Paul Faces Defamation Suit After Saying Boxing Promoter Paid Off Judge

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wasted little time in filing a defamation lawsuit against Jake Paul just days after the fighter, social media star, and Betr co-founder accused Hearn of paying off a judge in two fights.

Hearn Paul
Boxing promoters Eddie Hearn (left) and Jake Paul during happier times, when they were co-promoting an April 20 fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Hearn on Friday filed a defamation lawsuit against Paul just days after Paul claimed Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing paid off a judge involved in the Taylor-Serrano bout and another match Hearn promoted. (Image: iFL TV/YouTube)

Hearn and his Matchroom Boxing outfit filed a lawsuit against Paul on Friday in a New York federal courthouse. The suit seeks a trial by jury and damages in excess of $75,000. An attorney for Hearn told ESPN that the promoter is seeking more than $100 million.

The suit stems from comments Paul made to iFL TV on Tuesday regarding an April bout between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Both Hearn, who represents Taylor, and Paul, who promotes Serrano, served as co-promoters for the fight, which Taylor won by a split decision.

Some five months later, Paul still harbored bitter feelings about the match, which he felt Serrano won. His comments were particularly pointed toward judge Glenn Feldman, who had scored the match 97-93 for Taylor.

Paul also noted Feldman was the judge who scored the August fight between Anthony Joshua, another Matchroom boxer, and Oleksandr Usyk in favor of Joshua, even though the other judges scored in favor of the Ukrainian.

“Clearly this guy is getting paid money by Matchroom Boxing,” Paul said, according to the lawsuit.

That’s a bold statement and accusation that I don’t take lightly, but it’s just so blatantly obvious, and they’re not even trying to hide it.”

A link in the lawsuit to a Twitter video featuring the comment has since been taken down. However, other news reports, including one by Boxing Social dated on Tuesday, say Paul made those remarks.

Beyond ‘Smack Talk’

Hearn’s lawsuit says that “playful banter and even smack talk” happens in the world of boxing but that Paul’s comments went way beyond that.

And with Paul’s substantial following on social media channels, his comments were picked up quickly by news outlets, further magnifying their impact. That has led to Matchroom being harmed, although the suit itself does not specifically detail what damages were specifically caused by the remarks.

The suit also said that Matchroom also contacted Paul through his agent to retract the comments, but he apparently declined to do so. That led to the lawsuit being filed.

Hearn filed the lawsuit in US District Court for the Southern District of New York because the Taylor-Serrano bout took place there at Madison Square Garden and Matchroom’s US division is located in the district.

Jake Paul Co-Founder of New Sportsbook

The lawsuit against Paul comes just weeks after he and Simplebet founder Joey Levy launched Betr, which plans to be the first US online sports betting operator focused solely on microbetting or in-game wagering.

Betr is a $50 million venture that features a slew of high-profile investors, including Ezekiel Elliott, Richard Sherman, Dez Bryant, and DeSean Jackson. One of the ways it seeks to acquire customers for the sportsbook is to leverage Paul’s status as a social media star and create original content, becoming a go-to media site for younger sports fans. Paul himself will even host a show on Betr’s platform.

Betr has already filed for a license in Ohio, and, if approved, could launch on New Year’s Day. However, the Hall of Fame Village, Betr’s host partner in the state, has yet to be conditionally approved for its license.

It’s uncertain what, if any, impact the lawsuit against Paul could have on Betr’s ability to get licensed in Ohio or other states.

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