Claressa Shields, 26, did what many would not dare to do, and that is to make a transition from boxing to MMA. As the only boxer in history, female or male, to hold all four major world titles in boxing—WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO, undoubtedly mountains of pressure collected on the shoulders of Shields. After facing adversity in the departments one would expect a boxer to come up short in, Shields finished her opponent Brittney Elkin by TKO in the third round.
After capturing the spotlight in MMA, Claressa Shields is realizing her worth and believes that despite her accomplishments in boxing, there is still time for her to become an MMA superstar and reap the rewards that come with it.
“I accomplished so much in boxing,” Claressa Shields explained on ESPN+’s Stephen A’s World. “I’ve literally beat everybody you can name. I’ve been to three different weight classes, and it’s like, I’m a phenomenal athlete and just to have all these accomplishments and you know, not get my just due and not reap what I sew, it was kinda starting to frustrate me.
“And I was like, ‘You know what? I’m 26 years old. Why not use my youth and use my smartness and go in conquer MMA?’ Because I know for sure I can be a superstar there because they will give me my respect there.”
Shields opened up about some trade secrets in boxing that frustrated her to no end. In particular, the boxing champion lamented the fact that Showtime would not air her fights on pay-per-view shows. Following her first PFL win, and seeing cohorts who have won the million-dollar prize in PFL tournaments, the prizefighter from boxing is holding her hand out and wondering why she hasn’t been paid yet.
“Yeah, I’m saying I’m a three-time division world champion, 2-time Olympic gold medalist, faster than any other person in history male or female, and where is my million dollars at? I haven’t been paid a $1 million dollar for a boxing check yet, Showtime wouldn’t put me on or let me fight on pay-per-view. I had to put my own pay-per-view show on Fite TV.
“You know it’s like look– after you beat the biggest people and the baddest people in the world you should see the checks, the cars, the mansions, it’s like I put myself through so much hard work to be successful and dominate these girls, and it’s like, where is my money at? And I just wasn’t getting it. And where’s my recognition where’s my stardom? Boxing just wasn’t giving it to me.”
With the popularity of Claressa Shields on the rise, there is no doubt an appetite to see the boxing phenom back slinging leather again. Recently, the dual-sport athlete revealed that she is willing to fight within 2-3 months.
More importantly, she is concerned with the business side of things. As far accolades and accomplishments go, Shields believes she was massively underpaid and underappreciated in boxing but won’t be in MMA.
Do you think Claressa Shields will be an MMA superstar?