Former UFC star turned bare-knuckle boxer Paige VanZant has revealed that she’s struggled with mental health issues following her latest loss at BKFC 19.
VanZant is now 0-2 in the BKFC after losing via unanimous decision to fellow former UFC flyweight Rachael Ostovich in July. She had previously defeated Ostovich in the UFC in January 2019 and hasn’t had her fist raised since.
After hearing that the decision didn’t go her way against Ostovich, VanZant was so overwhelmed with disappointment that she immediately vacated the BKFC ring. Not helping matters, BKFC President David Feldman has said that Paige will be in a “must-win situation” the next time she competes.
Now riding a three-fight losing streak spanning two promotions, VanZant is at the lowest point of her career. After losing to Amanda Ribas in July last year—the last fight of her UFC contract—Paige decided to test her worth on the free market.
A month later, she inked a four-fight deal with the BKFC reportedly worth over $1 million, which according to VanZant is “10 times” what she received in the UFC. She made her BKFC debut in February this year, losing via unanimous decision to Britain Hart.
Paige VanZant Reveals Mental Health Struggles
While she’s enjoying a pay bump the envy of many of her former UFC colleagues, VanZant’s transition into bare-knuckle brawling has come with its setbacks. And they’re notably taking their toll on “12 Gauge.”
In the latest installment of her YouTube vlog series, VanZant opened up about the mental health battles she’s been fighting since the loss to Ostovich.
“When I walked out of the ring, I didn’t just walk to my locker room, I literally walked all the way outside and I just went and cried in the parking lot by myself,” said Paige VanZant (h/t Damon Martin at MMA FIGHTING). “I said some things to my husband that are pretty terrible about like my mental state. “I told him I didn’t want to live anymore, that this wasn’t for me anymore. Like life wasn’t for me anymore so I was disappointed, It was hard.”
VanZant says that the struggle to live up to the perceptions many have of her, and the hate she has received online, has been particularly challenging.
“I’m bummed out, bummed out to say the least,” said VanZant. “Everyone expects me to lose and everyone expects me to fail. I don’t know, I just feel like people have this specific perception of who I am and especially online. It’s crazy how much people can hate on a single person. I just don’t get it. I pride myself of being a good person. I think that’s the most important thing for me. I never talk bad about my opponents. I never say a single negative thing about their character. You never know what somebody’s going through. You never know what someone’s on the verge of.”
What do you think? Will Paige VanZant bounce back in her next BKFC fight?