The man tasked with prepping Paige VanZant for a professional wrestling venture has claimed that she’s stopped training since her debut match.
VanZant made her name in mixed martial arts, where she competed under the UFC banner. In nine Octagon appearances, “12 Gauge” went 5-4, including wins over Felice Herrig and Rachael Ostovich.
After exiting the promotion following a submission loss to Amanda Ribas in 2020, VanZant turned her attention to other career avenues, which has since included the sale of explicit content and a couple of bare-knuckle fights inside the BKFC ring.
While still under contract with the combat organization, VanZant has also tried her hand at pro-wrestling. After appearing in All Elite Wrestling alongside her fellow American Top Team athletes last year, the 28-year-old officially signed with the promotion this past March.
But despite making her debut at Double or Nothing in the summer, it appears that VanZant’s dip into the sports entertainment waters has come to somewhat of a halt.
That’s per former WWE star Gangrel, who has been looking to pass on his wisdom and decades of experience to the former MMA fighter.
Gangrel: ‘I Haven’t Seen VanZant Since That Match’
During a recent interview at K&S Wrestlefest, Gangrel was asked about VanZant’s progress since she made a successful debut.
Perhaps surprisingly, the veteran wrestling figure said that he hasn’t seen her since the match nor has he heard from her since an initial message about reviewing her performance. Gangrel also noted that VanZant didn’t train as much ahead of her first foray into the squared circle as he would’ve liked.
“Yes, I did (train VanZant) for a little while there. She did well; she didn’t train as much as I would have liked for her to train, but I haven’t seen her since that match,” Gangrel said. “She did that match, she wrote me and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to go over the match with you and some critique.’ And I said, ‘Sure,’ and that’s the last I heard from her,” he continued. “She’s an athlete. She could have been really, really good at it actually.” (h/t Wrestling Inc.)
The reason may well be VanZant’s BKFC commitments, which now appear somewhat up in the air. While she was originally set to return for her third fight in the organization against Charisa Sigala at London’s BKFC 27 in August, that bout was scrapped on late notice.
Although it was later announced to have been re-arranged for BKFC 31 in Denver later this month, VanZant currently isn’t listed on the fight card and Sigala also made a late-notice outing against Britain Hart last month, losing via unanimous decision.
Nevertheless, VanZant still appears to be training towards a return, and recently posted footage of her hitting the pads on social media. Perhaps she’ll re-direct her attention to a pro-wrestling career following her next and possibly final attempt at entering the BKFC win column.
What do you make of Gangrel’s comments on Paige VanZant’s wrestling absence?