Ahead of BKFC debut, Paige VanZant says she’ll earn 10 times what she made in UFC

Paige VanZant might be presuming a heavy dosage of danger entering the Bare Knuckle Battling Champion ring. Nevertheless, she declares the benefit is rewarding.

VanZant, who gained her fighting notoriety during a lengthy UFC stint that included multiple main events, moved on from the promotion in 2020 because she didn’t feel her worth was being truly appreciated.

After testing the open market, VanZant opted to transition sports and move to bare knuckle fighting, inking a deal with BKFC that apparently has massive financial upside. She makes her debut on Friday at BKFC’s “KnuckleMania” event, when she takes on Britain Hart in the headlining bout. The card takes place at Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson in Clearwater, Fla., and streams via online pay-per-view.

Although bare knuckle fighting presents a different kind of danger to MMA, VanZant indicated the benefit is well worth it, and claimed at Wednesday’s pre-fight news conference that her contract pays her a great deal more to compete compared to UFC.

“I’m here for a reason,” VanZant told reporters ahead of her launching. “I was in the UFC for six years getting paid $40,000 (to show) and $40,000 (to win), and now I’m getting 10 times that doing what I love. So obviously, I’m not going anywhere. I’m very happy fighting here and I’m excited to fight.”


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VanZant, 26, said her services were in high demand coming off her UFC tenure. She said it ultimately came down to BKFC and Bellator in terms of primary options, and despite her inner circle pushing her to go with the latter and stick to MMA, she decided to follow what she felt most passionate about.

“I was really fortunate coming from the UFC that I did have so many organizations (that) reached out, and I truly wasn’t sure where my career was going to go,” VanZant said. “I had two big offers that were in competition: this one or Bellator, which my husband (Austin Vanderford) fights for. I know I had a lot of people – my coaches, my husband – they all wanted me to go to Bellator. But I had to go where my passion lies, and I truly know this is the organization I belong with. This is the one I was most passionate about. This is where I see myself being the most successful.

“I absolutely love my striking, it’s what I was known for in the UFC, so I’m excited to come in here and show how tough I am. That’s one thing I’ve carried throughout my entire career, is no one can say I’m definitely not one tough chick, and I plan to show that I’m very fortunate I’m in a position where I love the organization I fight for.”

VanZant will make her BKFC launching against Hart, a fighter who has experience with the organization and specifically called out VanZant once she landed on the radar. Hart has been largely respectful leading into fight night, but made it clear she intends to give VanZant a rude awakening when they step in the ring together.

That’s not something that flustered “12 Gauge,” though, she stated. She knows she’s new to the BKFC world, but has no uncertainties about her abilities.

“I’m excited to go out and obviously prove (Hart) wrong, because you obviously have doubts,” VanZant stated. “I know where I belong and I’m happy here.”


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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.