Former UFC fighter Paige VanZant has made a somewhat surprising decision for the next step in her fighting career as she’s signed an exclusive deal to fight for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
It seems that PVZ opted to follow the money as she opted not to sign for Bellator and instead accepted what’s reported to be a multi-fight, multi-million dollar deal with BKFC instead.
“I feel like I still have this stigma in MMA that I’m just a pretty face, and what a way to prove to be people that’s not the way I see myself at all,” VanZant told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, while adding that, it was “an amazing contract, an amazing opportunity.”
PVZ is far from the only ex-UFC fighter to have signed up for the promotion in the past, as the likes of Chris leben, Chris Lytle, Hector Lombard, Ricco Rodriguez, Joe Riggs, Bec Rawlings, Artem Lobov, Joey Beltran and Leonard Garcia to name but a few.
As such the BKFC organization has built up some notoriety since it launched back in 2018 and in 2019 a pay-per-view event that pitted Conor McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov against former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi was estimated to have drawn in the region of 200,000 buys.
Given their seven-figure investment it’s clear that BKFC sees PVZ as the new face of the company and will also be looking to stoke up a rivalry between herself and another former UFC fighter Bec Rawlings, who VanZant KO’d with a head kick in the Octagon back in 2016.
Rawlings has since gone on to become a BKFC champion and will likely relish the chance to have a high-profile rematch – except this time with no head kicks allowed!