Paige VanZant made it abundantly clear that she was looking for other potential opportunities outside the UFC when she hit free agency. And when Dana White basically showed her the door, her decision was probably made that much easier. But where she actually ended up is a bit of a surprise.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, PVZ turned down an offer from Bellator to sign with BKFC instead. Yes, Paige VanZant is now the property of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
Paige VanZant has signed a new multi-fight, exclusive contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, according to sources.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 12, 2020
More on the deal shortly.
Just spoke to @paigevanzant, who confirmed she signed a multi-fight, multi-million dollar deal w/ BKFC. She is very happy:— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 12, 2020
"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.”
More coming. She added it was "an amazing contract, an amazing opportunity.” Obviously, she can’t do MMA for the time being, but she said she won’t close the door on the sport and added she and her husband Austin Vanderford recently relocated to Florida to train at ATT.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 12, 2020
VanZant then took to social media herself to announce her signing:
The above video is a stream of her and David Feldman, president of BKFC, making the official announcement of her signing. She does not have an opponent as of yet, but Feldman stated that she would be making her debut in early November.
According to MMA Fighting, Bellator FC CEO Scott Coker stated that he did offer a contract to VanZant so she could join her husband Austin Vanderford in the promotion. Ultimately, she passed on that to sign the “multi-million dollar deal” with BKFC instead.
VanZant (8-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is coming off a quick submission loss to Amanda Ribas in the last fight of her UFC contract. BKFC does promote a women’s division right now and their current champ, Bec Rawlings, is someone who PVZ has defeated in MMA in the past. So it will be interesting to see if they push her into a title shot right away.