Former UFC fighter Paige VanZant has come out and said that she is better off financially since leaving the promotion.
After going 5-4 in her UFC career and losing her last fight via armbar to Amanda Ribas in July of 2020, she decided to test free agency. After weighing her options, she signed a four fight deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships that gave her a major pay raise. As a result, she also started a fan site that people can pay for to get exclusive content.
Needless to say, Paige VanZant is in a much better place with her money after leaving the UFC and becoming independent. She revealed more details in an interview with her and her husband, Bellator fighter Austin Vanderford. (H/T mmafighting.com)
“I had my whole career was built off the UFC,” VanZant said. “I was in the UFC for like six years. It was very nerve-wracking. There weren’t a lot of people who left the UFC in the prime of their career.
“For me, I was a free agent at 26 years old. I was really young. It was nerve-wracking to know you’re leaving the powerhouse of combat sports. But now I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since I’ve left, I’ve seen multiple fighters leave the UFC — and it’s not a diss at the UFC necessarily, but I think it’s more an awakening in fighters knowing there’s money out there and we’re going to be compensated for what we’re doing.”
After a tough run in the UFC, Vanzant was looking for new management to help her with free agency. According to Vanderford, it was the catalyst to securing her financial success in the future.
“Meeting Malki [Kawa] and signing with First Round [Management] was truly … I can’t say it enough how much of a life changer it’s been for us,” Vanderford said. “Before we signed with them, he said, ‘I need you guys to agree that you’re going to follow my lead and you’re going to do what I say and you’re going to trust me,’ and so far it’s hard to even imagine. They’ve just done such a good job.
Her out of the cage career has been booming as well with the launch of her new website. Fans can pay a fixed rate every month to access exclusive photos and videos that VanZant posts their. VanZant talks about how difficult the decision was to open herself up like that.
“There was always this back and forth,” VanZant said about her decision. “There’s two sides of it. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would lose business opportunities based on having an exclusive content site, but I feel like I’m already seen as a sex symbol in the sports world. I wanted to do it on my own terms. So I actually joined Fan Time, it’s a separate company. I’m not with OnlyFans. It’s PaigeFanZant.com and it’s my own website and I have a lot of control over what goes on there. I’m proud to say I’m part of it.
“I work hard for my body. I work hard for who I am, and there’s a side of me that’s extremely girly and feminine, and I get to share that on my fan site. Now I think it’s becoming a lot more acceptable. It was a little bit more X-rated, just the view from the public. Not saying that’s actually what people have on there, but I wanted to do it my own way. I wanted to do it professionally and have my own website and that’s what I’ve done.”
After being in financial turmoil while fighting in the UFC, VanZant and Vanderford can both now say that they are in a good place for the future.
“I’m not planning for when I retire to go to college or try to figure out what’s next in my life. I’m able to just fight and save money and plan when I want to retire, I can just retire.”
Paige VanZant will return to combat sports against Rachael Ostovich at BKFC 19 on July 23rd.