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16 Apr, 2021 15:59

‘As stupid as we all thought’: YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul under fire for appearing to brag he has ‘early signs of CTE’

‘As stupid as we all thought’: YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul under fire for appearing to brag he has ‘early signs of CTE’

Former UFC title challenger Anthony Smith has slammed YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul who appeared to brag that he is showing 'early signs of CTE' in a media interview to promote his Saturday boxing match with Ben Askren.

The brash Paul, 24, will take on his third professional boxing assignment on this weekend when he fights former mixed martial arts world champion and former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren, but despite having never actually traded blows with a prizefighter of any real repute (his last two fights were against another YouTuber and an ex-NBA player), Paul told the media that his blossoming boxing career has already led to more than a bit of brain damage.

"It’s a dangerous sport. That’s why, when people question my dedication to it, it’s like, I’m showing up every single day," Paul said at Thursday's virtual media day.

"I’m putting my mental health on the line, my brain is on the line. Like you said, I’ve gone and gotten brain scans and (I) have early signs of CTE.

"But, I love this sport and wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I’m a fighter and people will see that whether it’s after Saturday night or whether it’s a year from now they will see that I’m a fighter."

Paul's comments are all the more confusing given that CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem when a full autopsy has been performed on the brain, and that no medical tests exist to determine what may or may not be "early signs" of the degenerative disease.

So unless Paul's brain has been removed from his skull - which, given some of his more recent comments, we can't entirely rule out - it would seem that his CTE claims are little more than a promotional guise aimed at hyping up his training. 

Paul's claims, meanwhile, didn't sit well with UFC veteran Smith who took to Twitter to slam 'The Problem Child' for appearing to make light of what is being increasingly seen as a serious problem for high contact sports.

“My take: 1. He’s exactly as stupid and careless as we all thought," wrote Smith.

"2. Lying about this to be cool or whatever shows his absolute disrespect for the real fighters and their families that have and will suffer from the very real, devastating effects of CTE. He’s disgusting."

Smith's stance was backed up by a majority of people online, several of whom also pointed out that CTE cannot be diagnosed in someone who is, well, alive and that if Paul is indeed experiencing head trauma (after just two fights) what exactly does that say about his skills in the ring?

"Claiming to show signs of something that can’t be diagnosed through scans after three fights," wrote one person on Twitter along with a laughing emoji.

"It sounds serious coming from a guy who started boxing at 22 and is now 24," wrote another along with quite a few more laughing emojis.

"That’s what happens when box but are not a boxer. You get hit a lot by real boxers," said another, casting doubts as to Paul's skills in the ring.

Also on rt.com Boxing vs. MMA: Jorge Masvidal calls ex-UFC rival Ben Askren a ‘crotch sniffer’ as fans turn on him again over Jake Paul sparring

Amid the backlash, Paul belatedly appeared to realize his mistake, taking to Twitter to issue an apology for sorts. 

"I wanna retract my comments made about CTE as it relates to me and my medical history," he wrote.

"It’s a very serious condition that I should not have misspoken about."