UFC women’s flyweight competitor Paige VanZant has made quite the name for herself. Even outside of mixed martial arts (MMA).
VanZant has been featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, is a former competitor on “Dancing With The Stars,” has been featured on several cooking shows, is an author, and a high-profile UFC fighter. Not to mention she’s one of the better-looking women on the Las Vegas-based promotion’s roster as well.
Although that can come with some benefits, it can also bring with it some pretty scary struggles. Speaking with ex-UFC heavyweight-turned-comedian Brendan Schaub on his “Food Truck Diaries” YouTube show, VanZant shared a scary experience she had with a stalker:
“I made the mistake of – a fan was like, ‘Hey, when can I meet you?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, my gym is always open.’ He shows up,” VanZant said. “He showed up, talked to me for, like, hours. I didn’t really realize how creepy it was. He was like ‘Hey I’ve been messaging you on Instagram a lot.’ So I find his messages on Instagram. He has been messaging me every single day, 10 times a day, for three years. Three years!
“It gets so much worse than that. He’s saying we need to be together and Allah says I’m meant to be his wife – totally obsessed with me. He lived in, like, Michigan, moved to California to be with me, got a membership to be with Team Alpha Male, got a membership at the gym, was training there, had pictures of me training. This whole time he was stalking me and I had no idea. He went in to say, like, ‘I was too nervous to say hi to you today’ – and it was a picture of me.
“Then, he said, he was finally going to give up, and he was out riding his bike thinking, ‘Okay, I need to give up on her,’ and he gets hit by a car. He thought it was God’s way of saying not to give up! And now he’s meant to be with me. He shows up at my gym in Oregon and he followed me on an Instagram Live I did. ‘You said anyone can come, I knew you meant me, I knew you were talking to me -‘ Goes to my husband and says, ‘Hey, I know you’re married, but I want your girl and she’s gonna be mine.’
“He just broke his hand in a fight. Luckily – yeah, it goes on to say he wants to be with me and Ed Herman was there. His fight name is “Short Fuse,” he goes off saying, ‘You stupid mother -‘ this and, ‘I’m going to beat -,’ yeah, told him what’s up and got him to leave. Ed is a bigger guy, this guy was small. Told him off, got him to leave, told him if he comes back he’s going to kill him, and Ed saved the day. He did not come back. I did block him.”
Things could’ve gotten very bad. After the incident seemed to have ended, VanZant decided to Google her stalker. It turns out, he was a convicted felon, and was recently in prison for illegally owning a firearm:
“I Googled him, so I was able to because he signed a waiver at my gym,” VanZant said. “He just signed a waiver like a typical dude, and he had been in prison, he had been in and out of jail, it could’ve been really bad. His most recent offense was he was arrested for being a felon with a firearm. Yeah, that was the worst I’ve had so far.”
Currently, VanZant is healing up from shoulder surgery before she returns for the final fight on her UFC contract. VanZant plans on fighting out her UFC deal and testing the free agency market so she can see her worth.