Former UFC star Paige VanZant and her manager Malki Kawa have opened up on her new deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC).
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Kawa, the man behind First Round Management, divulged that the deal has a multi-million dollar price tag.
“It’s a multi-million dollar deal and we’re not even talking the sprinkles and the cherries that go on top of the sundae,” Kawa said of the deal between VanZant and BKFC. “[BKFC President David Feldman] made a very strong offer. It’s a four-fight deal so it’s not anything crazy. It’s a four-fight deal and Dave and I sat and planned out these four fights on how they should look, when they should be, over the course of the next 16 to 18 months and I think that if everything goes the way that we expect it to go between the three of us, Paige, Dave and myself, multi-million will turn even bigger than that.
“Here’s the thing, I’ll be honest with you, me and Dave came to a lot of agreements on this contract and one of them is that she’s going to bare-knuckle box, I said absolutely just as she would have signed with Bellator or ONE or the UFC, it would be an exclusive agreement. The one thing that Dave did allow us to do was anything outside of MMA or boxing, which includes pro wrestling or grappling, any of that other stuff.”
Paige VanZant is understandably thrilled about such a lucrative deal, but is also excited about the opportunity to show off her hands in the BKFC ring.
“I had no idea they’d be such a big player in the game,” VanZant told MMA Fighting “Once I heard, talking with my husband, I was like I think I want to sign with them. We were still in that negotiation process, I really hadn’t heard their final offer. It was more than just what I feel like they were offering me financially.
“It was the opportunity I was excited about. I’ve been a fan of their sport and it’s something that I’m really going to be able to show off my striking. If you look at my MMA career, my biggest downfall has been my jiu-jitsu and my striking has been my passion. I’m so excited to show that off.”
Feldman, the BKFC boss, has made no secret of his intention to offer VanZant a commentary role, and leverage her huge brand in other ways. VanZant is excited to be working with a promotion that will allow her to do more than just fight.
“I feel like for a long time I wanted a promotion to know yes, I’m a fighter first and foremost and my end goal is to be successful in fighting but at the same time there’s so many other things that I am talented at and have a lot more to bring to the table,” VanZant explained. “That’s something that they offered me.
“They’re letting me come out and commentate. They’re letting me be a part of the organization, more than just an athlete for them. That’s something for so long that I’ve kind of been complimented on that I am talented inside the cage and when the cage door closes I’m there to fight but I can offer so much more to the table through past experiences.”
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