Paige VanZant has fallen on tough times as a professional fighter. After parting ways with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) back in 2020 the combat star has produced a 0-2 record as a member of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC). Remember, VanZant was brought into BKFC to become the promotion’s biggest star (at least she got paid to do so).
Unfortunately, “12 Gauge” has been unable to find much success as a bare knuckle boxer and it’s beginning to take a toll on her both physically and mentally. After dropping her BKFC debut to Britain Hart back in February, VanZant lost again to former UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich this past July.
The defeat not only burst her BKFC bubble, but it left VanZant in an unhealthy state of mind.
“When I walked out of the ring, I didn’t just walk to my locker room, I literally walked all the way outside and I just went and cried in the parking lot by myself,” VanZant revealed on her new video blog series (h/t MMA Fighting). “I said some things to my husband that are pretty terrible about like my mental state.
“I told him I didn’t want to live anymore, that this wasn’t for me anymore. Like life wasn’t for me anymore so I was disappointed, It was hard.”
The physical and mental struggles of being a professional fighter are difficult enough, but VanZant seems to be battling more than just her opponent every time she steps inside of the ring. Given her popularity on social media and overall appeal as a women’s combat star, “12 Gauge” puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform and perform well.
“I’m bummed out, bummed out to say the least,” VanZant said. “Everyone expects me to lose and everyone expects me to fail. I don’t know, I just feel like people have this specific perception of who I am and especially online. It’s crazy how much people can hate on a single person. I just don’t get it.
“I pride myself of being a good person. I think that’s the most important thing for me. I never talk bad about my opponents. I never say a single negative thing about their character. You never know what somebody’s going through. You never know what someone’s on the verge of.”
Despite her recent setbacks as a fighter and ongoing issues with mental health, VanZant believes there’s light at the end of the tunnel. She just has to recognize her issues and address them accordingly.
“People like me struggle a lot, everybody does,” VanZant said. “Mental health is no joke and I need to start taking my mental health more seriously.
“Losses suck and going through hard times it’s not fun but it does get better and you can get through it and life goes on.”
Free and confidential support for individuals who are in crisis and are thinking about taking their own lives, or have loved ones who are in crisis, can be found with the following organizations:
- United States: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Canada: Crisis Services Canada: Call 1 833 456 4566 or text 45645
- United Kingdom and Ireland: Samaritans: Call 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI)
- New Zealand: Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or Text ‘Help’ to 4357
- Australia: Lifeline: Call 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14