A press conference between an all-time great and a professional troll was supposed to be just jokes and one-liners, but the brief media appearance last month by Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul ahead of Sunday’s Showtime PPV event quickly devolved into one of the wildest scenes in recent memory. That is thanks in large part to Logan’s younger brother, Jake, who pulled off his now infamous “Gotcha Hat” moment that went instantly viral.
It all began May 6 when Mayweather and Logan Paul were set for a press conference at Hard Rock Stadium to drum up interest in the bout. That’s when Jake Paul stole the show by getting in the face of Mayweather and snagging the hat off his head and attempting to run away. Paul was immediately grabbed by Mayweather’s security detail, sparking off a massive brawl that extended through the bowels of the stadium.
How might the incident affect the outcome of the June 6 fight? And will it lead Mayweather, 44, to one day share the ring with the 24-year-old Jake (3-0, 3 KOs), a self-proclaimed master troll? That remains to be seen.
Until then, let’s look back on what happened and why from those who witnessed the viral moment play out in real time.
The following is an oral history of “Gotcha Hat.”
FLOYD MAYWEATHER*: Today, I had a small problem. It was a little problem. It’s really not a big problem. The kid wanted to test the waters and try me out.
LOGAN PAUL: I didn’t expect Floyd Mayweather to try and kill my brother with all of his security guards.
Part I: The (relative) calm before the storm
DANNY SEGURA (Combat sports reporter for USA Today/MMA Junkie): The [press conference] event was obviously bizarre because we have never seen anything like this. We have seen Floyd Mayweather fight Conor McGregor but that was still within the combat sports realm. This is the first time that Floyd has sort of stepped that far into this promotion or celebrity fights. I did not know what to expect.
LEONARD ELLERBE (CEO of Mayweather Promotions): That’s the unique nature of this event. It’s totally different because this is eight rounds and it’s not a championship fight. Logan Paul is not a championship fighter so the whole mindset is different. Floyd’s approach is this will be a highly entertaining exhibition but Floyd is definitely prepared to do what he needs to do to put on a great show.
SEGURA: The press was sitting around waiting for them to arrive in separate helicopters and, of course, each showed up fashionably late. The vibe was just unlike anything else because there hasn’t been anything else like this in combat sports.
ELLERBE: Initially, we had the presser and the face off. Both guys were kind of going back and forth, just talking.
SEGURA: It was basically kind of like a rap battle. It felt like MTV’s ‘Yo Mama’ show where they just pulled up to a stage with mics and they are ready to diss each other. There is no one there to host or mediate. It was kind of just a freestyle.
LOGAN PAUL: I wasn’t [intimidated by Mayweather]. No, not at all. I don’t know how anyone is intimidated by Floyd. I have never been. I never understood the Floyd Mayweather intimidation. He’s not like a badass. He wins fights but no one is terrified of Floyd Mayweather. He barely scrapes away with boring ass fights.
ELLERBE: Trash talk is part of sports and entertainment. That’s just the nature of it. You are not going to be able to talk more trash than Floyd Mayweather. He has proven that over the history of his career.
SEGURA: Jake made his presence known. He showed up and all the cameras started shooting him. Everyone knows who Jake is and he was always a presence standing right up against the stage. He was heckling Mayweather as Floyd was taking shots at his brother and [Jake] was very much taking part of the whole press conference.
ELLERBE: [At this point,] it’s business as usual. This is an exhibition and a lot of fun. The whole uniqueness to this event, it’s something that is very special and it’s kind of taking a life on its own because anything Floyd is involved with, that’s kind of the natural progression of it.
SEGURA: It wasn’t really a journalistic press conference where you are asking real questions. This was all promotion and that’s what it felt like. One thing a lot of people didn’t notice was that Jake went up to Floyd [at the front of the stage] and untied his shoe and started to do smack talk.
JAKE PAUL: I was there at the press conference and Floyd was talking shit to me. I untied his shoe because I’m just trolling him back.
ELLERBE: Paul’s entire objective is to make Floyd out of a meme. That’s his entire objective.
SEGURA: This is something that you maybe do in elementary or middle school to your friends but this is a 44-year-old man. This is a legend of the sport. He is no kid, he’s a grown man. I felt like that didn’t sit too well to Mr. Floyd Mayweather.
JAKE PAUL: I would say [we are] disrupters, for sure.
SEGURA: [Mayweather] noticed it but he continued on with his speech and his shots toward Logan. He was trying hard not to pay too much attention to Jake or give him that time. We have seen other combat sports pressers that talked about family and race and this wasn’t that. This was the annoying fly that goes around you and you got to get it out.
JAKE PAUL: He’s stepping into our territory and playing our game.
ELLERBE: [Mayweather] is the best trash talker out there and all [the Paul brothers] have done is taken Floyd’s blueprint to the next level in the social media world. They built a major audience behind that from the whole flashiness. It’s all a derivative of what Floyd has done. Things can often be emulated but they can’t be duplicated.
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Part II: Grand theft larceny
SEGURA: [After the fighters left the stage], all of the media were lined up behind a small barrier and Floyd was making his way down the little runway answering one question per media [member]. Everybody had their mics extended out and were kind of just waiting for Floyd to approach. In the process, there was a lot of people behind the barrier including PR and Floyd’s security. Logan was on the other side, as well, kind of waiting to have his run at it once Floyd was done.
LOGAN PAUL: I come off stage and Floyd and I had some personal back and forth. I said that I want to hurt him. And Jake said [privately], ‘Yo, I want to take his hat.’
SEGURA: Jake went up there and took his opportunity to cross the little barrier and started talking smack. All of the cameras were on them and that’s basically how it sparked. They were right next to each other.
JAKE PAUL: It’s pretty simple. I seen his hat and I was just like, ‘I should take that hat.’
ELLERBE: Evidently, after the fact I find out that Jake was planning to do this whole ‘Gotcha Hat’ thing and this kind of just took off. We were just totally caught off guard with that.
LOGAN PAUL: Jake told me he was going to take his hat and I told him not to. It seems like such a rudimentary, childish thing to do. I thought it was a f—ing joke.
MILTON LACROIX (Logan Paul’s trainer): That hat thing was funny as hell, that was funny.
ELLERBE: You have Logan and in his case, he was shell shocked at what was going on. He might have had an idea that Jake was probably planning to do this but he probably didn’t think he was going to do it.
LOGAN PAUL: I didn’t think [Jake] was serious.
JAKE PAUL: Something about it was just calling my name.
SEGURA: I could probably, if I really tried, have touched Floyd’s back. I was maybe three or four feet away from him. There were a couple of reporters sandwiched in front of me, shoulder to shoulder. But [Jake] was right there and you could see the tension. You know when it’s for the media, you know when it’s for the clicks and you know when the blood is really flowing. It started very regular but it quickly started escalating. Jake had been heckling him [throughout the day] by that point and Floyd had had enough.
JAKE PAUL: I knew [taking the hat] would be a hilarious troll moment and I knew it would piss him off like crazy.
SEGURA: As soon as I saw Jake cross the barrier, I knew that something could go down [because] Jake has no chill. He has no chill, whatsoever, and Floyd is Floyd. He is with his boys and he’s not going to get ridiculed by anybody. I hit record [on my camera] and got the face off between them but once Jake got his hat, all hell broke loose.
JAKE PAUL: You saw what happened. It turned into a brawl.
ELLERBE: Everybody else had the memo with the exception of me, Floyd and his entire team. We didn’t get the memo. That’s why you saw that I was standing there smiling and then my whole entire look changed on my face. I knew it was like, ‘Oh shit. No he didn’t just take Floyd hat! Oh my God!’ Floyd was livid!
LOGAN PAUL: Floyd didn’t get a haircut that day. I would be pissed too if my head looked like that. It was just gross, with lice and shit. It’s f—ed up.
SEGURA: You [suddenly] saw Floyd with his hairline.
ELLERBE: Floyd has reinvented himself. He has a cool new look and looks 10 years younger. Hey, he is just enjoying his life.
LOGAN PAUL: [Mayweather] is a granddad.
SEGURA: Jake took his hat and kind of held it like a football, like he was going through a defensive line and everyone was trying to get him.
ELLERBE: Was I worried something could happen to jeopardize the fight? One-thousand percent! That was my initial thought. I wanted to make sure everybody was safe. I didn’t want no scuffling.
SEGURA: What I really noticed in that whole thing is that [Mayweather’s security team] weren’t escorting Jake out. He was getting pinned down and they made sure that he couldn’t get away so that Floyd could get to him.
ELLERBE: Initially you could hear me in the background saying, ‘Don’t hurt him, don’t do nothing to him.’ I have been around. Floyd has guys with him who are extremely professional but they are very protective too. They are not going to let anyone do anything to Floyd and that thing could have just really went bad. Jake is very lucky he didn’t get stomped out.
LOGAN PAUL: [Mayweather’s security team] is big. And there are a lot of them.
SEGURA: You would think that Floyd’s security team is there to protect him but they are also there to aid him. They were mad. Jake was getting roughed up and they grabbed his shirt and he was getting pinned down so Floyd could get to him. That’s what I saw. This really wasn’t a, ‘Hey, let’s de-escalate the situation and give him his hat back. And you can go your way and we will go ours.’ This was, ‘You are messing with our boy, Floyd Mayweather, and we’ve got to back him.’ That’s the way it felt.
ELLERBE: The security did a good job of holding [Mayweather] back. Some people thought that this shit was staged. Nothing about any of that was. If you know anything about it, that’s just completely out of line. You don’t walk up to a black man and snatch his hat.
SEGURA: It almost felt like [Mayweather had] an entire army. There were so many people there on Floyd’s side. Granted, the Paul brothers had their people too, but they were simply outsized and outnumbered. You saw a lot of Jake Paul’s people try and get through and then you see the TMT crew kind of pushing them out and make sure they are staying away from Floyd. It was a huge, huge pack that Floyd was running with.
LACROIX: I was standing right there. I was next to Logan and Logan was doing an interview. We were talking and he had his head down and was about to answer questions. Next thing you know, he looked like a deer in headlights.
LOGAN PAUL: I saw some shit going down and immediately I knew it was the fault of my brother.
LACROIX: [Logan] goes, ‘Oh shit,’ and he took off! I was like, ‘Here we go again.’ He took off.
ELLERBE: I have been knowing Floyd ever since he was 13. I have only seen him pissed maybe three or four times in all these years and this is one of those times. He is very big on respect. He treats people with respect and he expects it in return. That was something that was very disrespectful that Jake had done and thank God that no one got hurt. That could have turned out really bad.
SEGURA: It felt like something could go off three or four seconds before it happened. It really did feel tense. You could feel it in the air. Something had changed. You saw Floyd Mayweather’s reaction and he is not joking around. He goes after him. Hard. I didn’t think it would escalate the way it did but clearly Jake was trying to get away and Floyd wasn’t having it. He wanted more. Floyd Mayweather was no longer talking trash just to build a potential fight with Jake or just to spark interest. He was pissed off. He wasn’t OK with the fact that [Jake] was getting in his face and disrespecting him. He is a legend, they are YouTubers.
LOGAN PAUL: So I went in there and tried to save his ass but shout out to Floyd’s security team. They did a great job of keeping me away from Jake.
LACROIX: At that point, [Jake] didn’t have the hat but they still thought he had the hat. Jake just kept on screaming, ‘I gotcha hat! I gotcha hat!’ It was just a funny incident.
SEGURA: They were trying to get the hat back and there were so many people involved that it could have been so easy to sneak one [punch] in. This was 360 degrees. It’s not like Jake had his back against the wall. He was surrounded by Floyd’s team and was shifting all over the area. I don’t know who punched him but it was just so hectic that anyone, at any given time, could have slipped one in.
JAKE PAUL: [Mayweather] was just like, ‘What the f—!’ And then he hits me with an uppercut.
LACROIX: It was a straight right hand.
LOGAN PAUL: I think it was a [right cross] to the face.
JAKE PAUL: Floyd Mayweather punched me in the face. It was an uppercut. You hear it smack. His bodyguards were holding me back and my face was [there to be hit].
LOGAN PAUL: He got a black eye. I think it’s cool, though. How many people can point to a black eye and say, ‘Floyd Mayweather punched me in the face?’
ELLERBE: At the end of the day, I’m sure there is something in the back of Logan’s mind that Jake was probably trying to steal some of the attention. They have done a good job of doing that and creating lots of conversation out there in the social media world with their platforms, but this boxing game ain’t something you can play. We don’t play boxing.
JAKE PAUL: To be honest, and I told my brother this, ‘the guy doesn’t hit hard.’ I think that’s a known thing in his career. His last knockout is like 2011 and he has boring fights. I stole his hat because he steals people’s money with boring fights.
LACROIX: Floyd’s security, if they wanted to cause collateral damage could have but they did not. They did not want to hurt Jake. Floyd is the one who actually hit him. They did not touch him. I was right there next to him and was like, ‘Wow, these guys are not trying to hit him, all they want to do is get that freeking hat.’
SEGURA: At that point it was chaos. My camera got hit, I got hit. Reporters were getting shoved. Everyone was moving around and running like crazy. PR was trying to get ahold of the thing and so many parties were involved. It was just a wild, wild scene. You didn’t think it would escalate more but each time it did and did until you had Floyd Mayweather out there threatening Jake that he’s going to kill him.
LOGAN PAUL: I was trying to be respectful and then my brother took his hat and [Mayweather] said he was going to kill Jake and I don’t take that shit lightly. It has become super personal.
ELLERBE: No, it ain’t surprised me how mad Floyd was because I know how big Floyd is on disrespect. Floyd’s approach is always like, ‘My man, I didn’t say anything to you so why are you coming at me like that?’ That was something totally disrespectful that went viral that they thought was funny but Jake’s ass is lucky that he didn’t get his stomped the f— out! He is extremely lucky! Trust me!
SEGURA: There were so many security guards around there and ultimately cooler heads prevailed. There were enough people there to get everything under control. I didn’t feel personally that I was in danger or that it could lead to something really bad. I think the worst thing that happened, happened. Ultimately, these are trolls and it was a typical response but nothing more than that.
ELLERBE: Does Floyd respect those guys? No, no he doesn’t. He doesn’t respect those guys.
SEGURA: He was really mad. They took Floyd to the locker room and the media tried to follow him. That’s when his team started kind of pushing back journalists saying, ‘Hey, don’t follow us.’ He was certainly agitated. I think it’s a mixture of things. He didn’t appreciate being heckled by Jake. The fight is with Logan and not you. There was certainly an older man feel like you have to respect your elders type thing.
LOGAN PAUL: I got asked in an interview if we were planning on pursing legal action. Because, you know, it’s assault. I mean, but also, that was theft with Jake and ‘Gotcha Hat.’ I don’t know, do they cancel out?
Part III: The curious case of the missing hat
SEGURA: The hat? I don’t know what happened to the cap.
LACROIX: Oh, we got the hat.
ELLERBE: Yeah, Floyd has the hat.
LACROIX: The hat is with us.
ELLERBE: Floyd has the hat.
SEGURA: I think that’s the biggest mystery of this thing, where is the hat?
LACROIX: I was going to wear it [today]. I have it in the house.
SEGURA: I do not know at what point [Team Paul] got the hat or if [Mayweather] got the hat because I know Floyd did some interviews after that and he wasn’t wearing the hat.
MAYWEATHER: I think I’ve still got the cap. [Turns toward his security team.] Where is the cap at? I think we’ve still got it somewhere.
SEGURA: Floyd says he has it but there hasn’t been any video or pictures of the item. Jake could have it as far as I’m concerned, I have no idea.
JAKE PAUL: I got a tattoo [of Mayweather’s hat with the phrase ‘Gotcha Hat’] on my right leg.
LOGAN PAUL: I don’t have any [‘Gotcha Hat’] tattoos. I have one tattoo. It’s a Pokemon.
LACROIX: [‘Gotcha Hat’ merchandise] went online and it went on sale [on Jake Paul’s website] and it was selling like hotcakes. People are still buying this hat to this day. It’s going through the roof. And other people are even trying to take other people’s hats, which is stupid. But it’s not Floyd’s hat.
LOGAN PAUL: Jake wanted to add Floyd’s hat to his hat collection and Floyd wasn’t happy about it. It’s his favorite hat.
MAYWEATHER: It’s not an important cap but it is what it is. He did what he did and I did what I did.
Part IV: Unfinished business
ELLERBE: All the fans around the world will be rooting for [Mayweather on June 6] because people do not like these Paul brothers. Let’s face it, in Floyd’s case, for many, many years he has been the heel. But in this event that we have, there is large amount of fans all over the world, they want Floyd to kick his ass. This is the first time that I can recall in many, many, many years that the fans want to see Floyd inflict some serious damage to Logan Paul.
JAKE PAUL: He fought against 50 of the all-time greats and none of them could get under his skin. But all of the sudden Jake Paul takes his hat and he says that he wants to kill me?
SEGURA: Look, I covered and saw the whole buildup with Conor McGregor and he had a lot to say. He did his homework. But he never got under Floyd Mayweather’s skin the way Jake Paul did. I think it was also a generational thing as Conor is much older and his tactics were different. This was more of an annoyance. Floyd was really, really annoyed by this guy.
MAYWEATHER: I know how to sell a fight and look how many views me and Jake got from the situation that happened.
SEGURA: You kind of know [in combat sports] which moments are going to go viral but you just don’t know how it’s going to translate. But this was really the most talked about thing for several hours that day. So many people tagged me online in videos. All my friends were talking about it, even my friends that don’t watch combat sports. It was huge, it was huge.
JAKE PAUL: Floyd should be thanking me for taking his hat. That was the No. 1 article, headline, trending thing around the world that day. That just put more money into his pocket for pay-per-view buys. He needs to put his ego aside and realize that business is just a hack.
SEGURA: I’m sure [Mayweather] and Conor McGregor don’t see eye to eye but there was at least some level of respect, even in different sports as athletes. Conor McGregor goes in there each and every time and puts his life on the line, as does Floyd, there is just different rule sets but it’s basically the same principles. Whereas Jake and Logan, although they have had other fights, it’s clearly not at the same level of competition or sacrifice to get to such a platform as we see today. [For Mayweather], there is certainly a, ‘This is a good money fight for me but at the same time, I’m here to prove that I am somewhat of a different breed here. You and I are not the same.’
ELLERBE: Floyd is [no longer] angry at all. He is going to go about his business and give the fans an incredible show. That’s exactly what he is going to do. This right here [on Sunday] is going to be something that is highly, highly, highly entertaining. I guarantee that. They are going to be getting more than their money’s worth.
JAKE PAUL: One-hundred percent there is unfinished business with Floyd. One-hundred percent. Even if my brother beats his ass, I’m still going to go in there and beat his ass.
LOGAN PAUL: I thought this through a lot. If I were to lose, sure, I bet Floyd would take that fight [against Jake]. Why would he not? He would essentially have defeated both of the Pauls and would make a lot of money doing it. He would get the glory. But I’m not going to let that happen. That’s part of my motivation. It’s like, ‘Sorry Jake, I love you but you ain’t getting this fight because Floyd is not getting past me. F— that dude, f— that so hard.
SEGURA: The real bad blood is not Logan and Floyd. I’m sure Floyd doesn’t like Logan but compared to Jake it’s a whole different story. I think it’s what stems out of this. [Logan and Mayweather] are going to do their thing in the ring and Floyd is going to win. There is really no way Logan can dethrone him. But I want to see what happens in the aftermath. Jake just planted his seed there for a huge superfight. There is actual real bad blood. They got into a brawl. That’s a seed that was placed there. How will it grow? When will it grow? I don’t know but it’s certainly there.
ELLERBE: Who knows what the future might hold [for a Jake fight] but Floyd is looking to go out there [against Logan] and put on a show because this is entertainment. It will be something that the fans will remember for many, many years to come because Logan just thinks this is something where he is just going to walk up in there and he is going to be able to overwhelm Floyd with his size and his strength.
LOGAN PAUL: I know Floyd isn’t overlooking me. He’s not overlooking anything because he can’t see over me. He’s looking right here [points to his chest], direct eye contact with the nips.
ELLERBE: I know both of their coaches and [the Paul brothers] work extremely hard but to actually think that you are going to walk up there and beat Floyd Mayweather’s ass, that’s not happening. You better be careful sometimes what you ask for because a lot of times it looks one way on the outside until you step up in there. I’m sure in the back of Floyd’s mind, he is going to want to teach [Logan] a lesson.
LOGAN PAUL: I’m coming for you Floyd. I’m going to get your hat again!
*All interviews were conducted by CBS Sports with the exception of Mayweather’s comments to Barstool Sports taken from an interview immediately after the May 6 press conference.