Ahead of her promotional debut with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship tomorrow, former UFC flyweight and strawweight contender, Paige ’12 Gauge’ VanZant has claimed she’ll earn ten times what she made under her former banner, with the David Feldman led organization.
VanZant, who transitions to bare knuckle fighting following an eight-year stint in professional mixed martial arts, headlines BKFC 16 in Tampa, Florida as she clashes with Britain Hart in a main event bout.
Penning a multi-fight, multi-million dollar deal with the Philidelphia-based organization, VanZant tested free-agency following her UFC 251 submission loss to Brazilian contender, Amanda Ribas last July — reportedly turning down an offer from Scott Coker’s Bellator MMA.
Speaking with assembled media yesterday ahead of the ‘Knucklemania’ event, VanZant maintained that despite the potential risks that come with her transition to bare-knuckle fighting, the juice will prove to be worth the squeeze.
“I’m here for a reason,” VanZant said. I was in the UFC for six years, getting paid $40,000 (show money) and $40,000 (win money), and now I’m getting ten 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.“
Touching on the prospect of linking up with the above mentioned Bellator, VanZant explained how her coaches and husband, Austin Vanderford had attempted to sway her in favour of a move to the Scott Coker led promotion, however, the 26-year-old claimed she followed her passion with a move to BKFC.
“I was really fortunate coming from the UFC that I did have so many organizations (who) reached out, and I truly wasn’t sure where my career was going to go,” VanZant explained. “I had two big offers that were in competition: This one (BKFC) or Bellator, which my husband 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.“
VanZant, who secured three stoppages via submission and two via strikes during her mixed martial arts career, detailed how she “absolutely” loves striking — with the possibility to do just that an exciting prospect ahead of tomorrow’s debut.
“I absolutely love my striking, it’s what I was known for in the UFC, so I’m excited to come in there and show how tough I am,” VanZant said. “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.” (H/T MMA Junkie)