Paige VanZant Claps Back At Critics Of BKFC Move, Hints At MMA Return

Paige VanZant plans
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Paige Vanzant has heard what you have to say about her move to bare-knuckle boxing and she’s not having any of it.

The former UFC star signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship in August 2020 after a 5-4 run in the world’s top MMA promotion. The signing came as a surprise to many who expected VanZant to sign with one of the other notable MMA organizations, but ’12 Gauge’ has remained insistent that bare-knuckle boxing is what intrigues her the most. In an interview with TMZ ahead of her BKFC debut against Britain Hart on February 5, VanZant again took aim at those who have been doubtful of her in her career.

“You know what? I have, for the majority of my career – and I’ve been thinking about this – why have I kept my mouth shut so much about all the haters, and about all the hate and negativity I get?” VanZant said. “My idea was, if you talk s— about somebody, you should be willing to say that to their face. And not a single person who has said anything negative about me publicly has been willing to say it to my face, and I’ve seen people in person.” (H/T MMAJunkie)

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VanZant also took umbrage with anyone that has suggested she should be worried about the damage her face could receive in the often graphic sport.

“All the negativity about ‘Oh! My face!’ Grow up!” she said. “It’s a face, and it’s mine, and I can do whatever I want with it, and guess what, I’m still going to be beautiful, even if I get cut open. It’s not a big deal. … That’s so condescending to think of your beauty as being important.”

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VanZant also noted that the lead-up to her fight has also brought a clause in her contract she was previously unaware of to her attention. According to her manager, she is still able to take MMA bouts while remaining under contract with BKFC. She said that while she had initially considered walking away from the sport to focus solely on boxing, moving her training to South Florida has reignited her spark.

“BKFC, they did give me the liberty in my contract to be able to take an MMA fight. I was informed of that by my manager, and I didn’t know that at first,” VanZant explained. “At first, I was like, ‘No, I just want to do the boxing.’ But I think that, coming to American Top Team, it rebirthed my excitement and I now realize how good I am.”

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“I’m training with these coaches who believe in me. Having them say they believe in me, and they train some of the best fighters in the entire world, and they look at me and they believe that I’m good,” she said. “So that kinda sparked that passion all over the place. So yeah, maybe I will take an MMA fight. I’m strictly focused on the boxing right now, especially for this fight. That’s all I do. But, maybe. Let’s see. The door is open, so it’s definitely there.”

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