Paige VanZant caught everyone by surprise when she revealed that she had passed on a deal with Bellator MMA to pursue a combat career with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC).
While her manager Malki Kawa states that her deal will see her make millions of dollars, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) “it” girl had other reasons — not just financial — to sign on with BKFC.
And that’s to prove people wrong.
According to “12 Gauge,” she hopes her unprecedented move will somehow prove to all of her critics that she isn’t just another pretty face.
“I feel like I still have this stigma in MMA that I’m just a pretty face, and what a way to prove to people that’s not how I see myself at all,” VanZant said during a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “This is a sport where people probably have the highest rate of getting cut open, and having long-term scars is definitely not something that I am not even worried about for me.”
VanZant parted ways with UFC last month after losing to Amanda Ribas very early in round one via armbar. She went just 5-4 inside the Octagon, losing three of her last four. Prior to that, VanZant was very open about the low pay she received during her six-year stint with the promotion.
But with Dana White and Co. now in her rear-view mirror, “12 Gauge” seems to be well on her way to earning millions of dollars with her new promotion ... even if it comes at the expense of some facial scars.