GLENDALE, ARIZ. – October 13, 2022 – Elite UFC striker Uriah Hall and former NFL star running back Le’Veon Bell sized each other up and placed their names squarely in the Jake Paul sweepstakes during a virtual press conference on Thursday to preview their professional boxing match on Saturday, October 29 as part of the event headlined by Paul vs. UFC legend Anderson Silva at Desert Diamond Arena (formerly Gila River Arena) in Glendale, Ariz., just outside Phoenix. Both Hall and Bell will make their pro boxing debuts in an event co-produced by Most Valuable Promotions and SHOWTIME PPV in a four-round cruiserweight bout. But they made it clear on Thursday they view their MMA vs. NFL matchup as a prelude to a mega-fight with Paul.
“That’s the only reason why I’m here, man,” the former UFC standout Hall said to combat sports journalist and press conference host Ariel Helwani. “To fight Jake Paul.”
“This is the bridge to get the Jake Paul fight,” said the former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets running back.
During the media call, Hall and Bell also went back-and-forth over who the better athlete is, whether Bell bit off more than he could chew by facing such a decorated combat sports athlete, how Hall will cope without being able to rely on his kicks in the ring, how Bell said he would help former Steelers and Bucs teammate Antonio Brown prepare for a match with Paul, and more.
The Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva Most Valuable Promotions SHOWTIME PPV is available now for purchase in the United States at SHOWTIME.com/ppv and via the SHOWTIME® app for a suggested retail price of $59.99 (SRP). The official promo for the event was inspired by the 1983 cult classic Scarface and was released today and is available to watch and share HERE.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
Here is what Hall, Bell and Helwani had to say on Thursday:
“I love mixed martial arts and I love to compete. I’m a competitor. My coach called me about this and it piqued my interest. I’m just very competitive so I told him to give me some reasons to do it and he did. So that’s why I’m here. I’m the type of guy that has to be interested in something. If it’s fun and I see something that’s challenging, then I’ll do it.
“No offense but I had never heard of Le’Veon Bell till it was brought up to me. I barely watch my own sport. I didn’t know who he was, and I checked it out. Listen, at the end of the day he’s a stud at what he does and an athlete. What we’re both going out there to do is utilize that platform of a challenge. Yeah, we’re getting paid for it, but it’s a challenge. That he wants to step into that world, kudos to him. I don’t really know, but for me I’m just a competitor at heart.”
What is the reason for taking this fight?
“To fight Jake Paul [laughing]. The mind is not just focused on Jake Paul though. It’s exciting. We had some online exchanges a long time ago and I just wanted to show him what a real fight is.
“I’m here to represent myself. The world’s not going to like you. I have to look out for me at the end of the day. I’m a competitor first. From a business aspect all the other things can come with it, the limelight and all that, I don’t look at that stuff. I have blinders on and I’m just focused. I see him only. He’s in my vicinity and I have a task at hand and something to focus on. My mentality is I’d rather die [than lose] and I have that commitment to myself. I mean, you’d have to kill me. That’s my mentality.
“I don’t look at it like he’s biting off more than he can chew. I think he’s stepping out of his comfort zone.
“MMA is just grueling on the body. I know when I’m getting ready for an MMA fight you have to train seven different disciplines…And then there’s strength training. And then you’ve got to recover and there’s days you feel like [crap] and then you have to get up and do it again the next day. It’s such a toll on your body. The best way I can explain it is you know how a dog ages like seven years. That’s how it is for a fighter. You just age faster. It’s so much pressure you put on your body. But kudos to these guys for trying to do it.
“As an athlete I just know from a competitive standpoint you want to step out of your comfort zone. Look at Deron Williams. He’s a basketball player and a wrestler and he did it. He had fun with it.
“Whatever he brings, I have to adjust. In mixed martial arts if someone’s kicking the crap out of me, I’ve got to adjust and punch him or take him down, or vice versa. And that’s why I love mixed martial arts so much. There are just so many other attributes. I feel like boxing is so one-dimensional. You know what to expect. Granted, some people are faster with their hands. But I know he’s fast, and I’m fast. I know he hits hard, and I hit hard too. So I think it comes down to whoever goes out there and imposes their will.
“I’m happy for Anderson. He actually texted me when he found out I was on the card and he was like, ‘Man, I’m so happy I’m going to see you.’ My goal was to train with (him), and I never got the chance and I’ve always wanted to do that. We’ve agreed to do that after this fight. Anderson is just so unique. He’s so dynamic and so smooth in there. I feel like he’s more of a boxer. I watch him move, and I learn everything from this guy. Because he was my hero at one time, and he still is. Anderson was the one who gave me the advice that if you think you’re old, you’re old. It’s a mindset.”
“This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for the past two or three years. Obviously, I’ve been playing football but once the fight happened with Adrien Peterson – not long after I was on the show with Jake Paul, and he was talking about fighting another running back. And I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to fight another running back.’ So, he brought up Uriah Hall’s name and I thought that would be a great opponent for me, a guy who’s been spectacular in his profession. To step in the ring and move around with him, I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to test my skills and see how good I really am. I didn’t want to keep fighting the same level of guys. I wanted to keep upping the level and Uriah Hall is a great opponent.
“A lot of people feel that I’m biting off more than I can chew. But a lot of people don’t know how seriously I’m taking this because they don’t know exactly how hard I’ve been working. I think it’s going to be a great test and we’ll see what happens but I’m excited.
“Like he said, it’s going to be a great challenge for him [switching to boxing] because a lot of things he was great at, like kicking – he obviously can’t do in boxing. He’s still a great striker, using his hands so he’s taking on a challenge and he’s going to be ready, and I feel like the same with me. I know he’s going to be prepared and ready and he’s going to be in shape, so I have to up my level.
“I feel like I’m one of the better athletes walking around this planet. I’m known for football but even when I was playing football, I was also playing basketball. I’m one of the best basketball players you’ll probably ever meet but people wouldn’t know that because I’m not in the NBA but that’s just how I feel. Anything I pick up and do, I catch on pretty quick, other than golf. But everything else I’ve been the cream of the crop because I get addicted to it and lock it in quickly.
“I feel like I have to handle business with Uriah [to get the Jake Paul fight]. But at some point, yeah [I want that fight]. But mine’s not just limited to Jake Paul.
After hearing Hall admit he used his legs against a boxer inside the ring during sparring and if he’s concerned Hall will do the same October 29:
“Yeah, for real. I’m like damn. I don’t know how to defend kicks. I haven’t practiced that. But I know he’s a professional and he will control himself. But if there’s something you’ve done your entire life, it still will be in his head to [do] it. It’s going to be a tough challenge for him. I know that. But I’m not trying to defend leg kicks and sweeps [laughing].
“I feel great physically and I feel like I can do [boxing] for years to come. I don’t know exactly how long but I know it’s not going to be a one-off or a two-off. I’ll be around for a minute, continually trying to get better and find new opponents and sharpen my skills.
“Hands down preparing for a fight [is tougher than preparing for a football game]. Football camps were hard and tough on my body, but that was before I knew about boxing camp and understanding how tough and intense the boxing workouts were. That’s every day. I would say boxing for sure [is tougher].
“This is a much tougher challenge [than Peterson] because Hall’s been fighting for 17 years. When I fought Adrian Peterson, there were times when I thought he was a little timid because maybe it was his first fight. But I don’t think Uriah will be that way. I feel Uriah will be more confident because he’s been facing fighters for 17 years. He’s been hit before, not just by punches but by kicks. I have a guy who’s actually trying to fight me back.
“That feeling was crazy [of knocking someone out]. I had games where I had 200 yards and three touchdowns but that feeling that I had of knocking someone out tops the cake over any initial feeling I ever had in football. Hands down…I’m done with the football thing because I can’t go back and forth with football and boxing. It’s so hard to try and box and to still do football. Boxing is the kind of thing you have to be all the way in.
“Jake from his first fight to this fight, he’s gotten better each fight. He’s continually gotten sharper. He’s taking the sport seriously. He’s not a guy who’s just talking and obviously Silva is going to be a great test for him. Silva has been doing this for years. He’s a legend so it’s going to be a great challenge for Jake. I’m looking forward to watching it.
“In 2016 or 2017, I started using boxing as an extra workout for football. Over that time, [I went] from doing it once a week to twice a week, to eventually years down the line sparring and becoming more invested in it, I started falling in love with it and as time went on — I started to realize I was good at it.
“Me and [former Steelers and Bucs teammate Antonio Brown] stay in touch all the time. He almost walked me out for my last fight. I would work out with AB [if he ever faced Paul]. For sure.”
“I think Uriah Hall is a tremendous striker. I think he is appropriately the betting favorite going into this fight. I think it’s going to be interesting and I think a lot of people are curious to see when his kicks and his knees aren’t available, how’s it going to look? Clearly, Le’Veon has power. I think he’s an incredible athlete.
“I can’t wait for this. I think it’s going to be a really, really fun spectacle. It’s a card that has something for everyone.”