Former UFC fighter Paige VanZant will test her skills at bare-knuckle boxing next, as she has signed a four-fight contract with Bare Knickle Fighting Championship. News of the signing was first broken by Ariel Helwani of ESPN on Wednesday.
Reports from ESPN say that VanZant’s contract is worth over a million dollars in total, with the plan being for her to have her first bout in November.
“Contract signed. About to change the game,” said VanZant via Instagram on Wednesday, teasing a new contract.
VanZant had a nine-fight run in the UFC, obtaining five wins and four losses since her 2014 promotional debut. Her last fight came at UFC 251 in July, where she lost in the first round to Amanda Ribas.
Prior to her fight against Ribas, VanZant’s free agency was known with the media was well known. VanZant was also vocal about how she felt underrated.
“I do think my value is significantly higher than what I am currently valued at,” said VanZant in an interview with ESPN in August of 2019. She noted that endorsement deals earned her more money than her professional MMA bouts.
There was clear interest outside of the UFC when VanZant became a free agent.
“We definitely want to have a conversation with her [VanZant],” said Bellator President Scott Coker in a July interview with MMA Fighting.
VanZant declined an offer brought to her by Bellator, per a report on Wednesday from Steven Marrocco of MMA Fighting.
In her time in the UFC, VanZant main evented two “Fight Night” cards, being a co-main event on another as well.
Despite never being high in the strawweight or flyweight rankings, VanZant was a well-known name in the company. A testament to her popularity is her Instagram, which sits at 2.6 million followers; a figure that many high up UFC fighters have not obtained.
BKFC (Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship) has signed many former UFC fighters before, including Bec Rawlings, Chris Lytle, Artem Lobov, Gabriel Gonzaga and Antonio Silva.
BKFC started in 2018 and has run 11 events since. Their next event, BKFC 12, is set for August 21st at the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, USA.