After six years competing in the UFC, Paige VanZant says she could have earned the same amount of money working a “regular job.”
VanZant is days out from a fight with Amanda Ribas, which will open the UFC 251 main card this Saturday night. The fight marks the final obligation on her current UFC contract.
Ahead of her showdown with Ribas, VanZant has made no secret of the fact that she intends to explore her value as a free agent after the fight. She reiterated that plan in a recent interview with MMA Fighting.
“I feel like I am betting on myself here,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “You don’t know your value until you test it. I want to know what people see my value as.
“I feel like more than ever, especially with me hurting myself, that if I’m going to be a professional fighter, I need it to be worth it for me. It needs to be worth me breaking my arm everyday and walking into the cage and bleeding and sacrificing.”
VanZant has long stood out as one of the more popular fighters on the UFC roster, but she doesn’t feel that she’s been adequately compensated, even admitting she makes more money through brand partnerships on Instagram than she does by fighting.
She’s thankful for the time she’s spent with the promotion, but believes she’s worth more.
“I’ve added up all the money I’ve made in the UFC over six years, and I could have just had a regular job with the same pay,” VanZant said. “I’m so thankful for everything the UFC has done for me, the platform they’ve given me. This is nothing against the UFC. But the contract I signed is what I signed and I know I need to honor it. That’s why I’m fighting this last fight out and I was never trying to break it early.
“It’s important to fight this fight out, honor my contract and then say listen this is my value and this is what I need to be paid to make it worth it,” VanZant added. “People just need to pay attention, we are sacrificing day in and day out and we feel we need to be paid our true value. That’s pretty much it.
“I love the UFC. I love fighting for them. They’ve given me so many opportunities but I’m trying to set up a future for myself. I’m not trying to compare myself to any other fighter. I’m not saying I deserve more than any other UFC fighter. I think we all deserve more. We all deserve to be paid more.”
Where do you think Paige VanZant will end up after her UFC 251 fight with Amanda Ribas?