Paige VanZant on UFC fighter pay: “I can make way more money just promoting brands on Instagram”

Paige VanZant
Image: @paigevanzant on Instagram

UFC women’s flyweight Paige VanZant criticized the fighter pay in the UFC, saying she can make more money promoting brands on her Instagram.

VanZant has not fought since January 2019, when she submitted Rachael Ostovich at UFC on ESPN+ 1, due to numerous injuries. After 18 months out of the cage, she makes her long-awaited return to the Octagon in July when she meets Amanda Ribas in the main card opening bout at UFC 251. This will be the last fight on VanZant’s UFC contract and she is expected to field offers from other promotions after the bout, so getting a win as a big underdog would be huge for her stock.

In an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, VanZant opened up about her pay in the UFC and said that she can make far more money outside the Octagon than it.

“Everyone knows how much I make. I make $46,000 to fight. $46,000 to show and $46,000 to win. I’m not going to hide than because everybody knows. I can make way more money than that just promoting brands on Instagram. That should say something. Why would I step away from all the amazing success I had on Dancing with the Stars? I made more money on Dancing with the Stars than I have in my entire UFC career combined. Every fight, every win, every bonus. And it just shows that the money is out there,” VanZant said.

To that point, VanZant said that she is 100% focused on her fight with Ribas, and to that end, she admitted she has cut out all of her sponsors for this fight. For VanZant, it’s all about having an impressive performance and getting the win over Ribas as a big underdog, which would potentially put VanZant on track for a huge free-agent contract.

“I love fighting, it’s what I love to do. And for this fight I dropped every single sponsor, I haven’t posted anything on Instagram. Nothing matters to me except for this fight. It’s a clean slate for me. I’m not promoting any sponsors. I have nothing. I’m just excited to go out there and prove my value to absolutely everybody, and I think fighting is how I do that,” VanZant said.

Fighting in the UFC since 2014, VanZant has a 5-3 overall record in the Octagon, with her most notable wins coming over Felice Herrig and Bec Rawlings.

Do you think Paige VanZant will defeat Amanda Ribas at UFC 251?