VanZant had been competing under the UFC banner since Nov. 2014. Her UFC 251 bout with Amanda Ribas was her final bout with the promotion as her contract expired. “12 Gauge” made it clear that she was testing free agency as she expressed gripes over pay.
Paige VanZant & Manager Talk Lucrative BKFC Contract
VanZant told MMAFighting that she was surprised that BKFC stepped up with such an enticing offer.
“I had no idea they’d be such a big player in the game,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “Once I heard, talking with my husband, I was like I think I want to sign with them. We were still in that negotiation process, I really hadn’t heard their final offer. It was more than just what I feel like they were offering me financially.”
VanZant mentioned that the grappling aspect of MMA had served as her downfall. She expressed excitement over being able to showcase her striking in bare-knuckle boxing.
Malki Kawa, VanZant’s manager, chimed in and discussed how BKFC became the obvious choice.
“It’s a multi-million dollar deal and we’re not even talking the sprinkles and the cherries that go on top of the sundae,” Kawa teased. “Dave made a very strong offer. It’s a four-fight deal so it’s not anything crazy. It’s a four-fight deal and Dave and I sat and planned out these four fights on how they should look, when they should be, over the course of the next 16 to 18 months and I think that if everything goes the way that we expect it to go between the three of us, Paige, Dave and myself, multi-million will turn even bigger than that.”
VanZant has been open about wanting to shake the stigma of being a “pretty face” in combat sports. She said that the perceived brutality of bare-knuckle boxing even when compared to MMA doesn’t faze her. While she understands that people find her attractive, VanZant says she is an athlete and a fighter first and foremost.