Paige VanZant will Continue Fighting Career with Bare Knuckle FC

by Aleksandar Urdarevik on August 13, 2020
Paige VanZant spent the past month as one of the hottest commodities in the free agency. She's off the market now, and looks like she's transitioning away from MMA for good.

On Wednesday, VanZant teased her new deal with Bare Knuckle FC on Instagram. The promotion later announced the signing on Twitter.

“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,” VanZant told ESPN.

Bare Knuckle FC CEO Andre Feldman gave a statement on the deal: “This is a massive move for BKFC to sign Paige. She’s long been one of the most popular fighters in combat sports, and her striking abilities will ensure our fans will see the very best of her in the ‘squared circle.’ We’re thrilled to get started working with her and her manager, Malki Kawa from First Round Management, on taking her career to the next level."

After a first-round submission loss to Amanda Ribas at UFC 251 in July, VanZant's contract had expire. She's made her intentions clear to test free agency for the past year, and UFC CEO Dana White made no effort to keep her around.

Although VanZant said that although she had a fine relationship with the UFC banner, the 26-year-old also that she was underpaid given her large fanbase and exposure provided to UFC through her massive social media followings.

It was speculated that VanZant would sign with Bellator, the promotion her husband fights under. Bellator president Scott Coker said signing her was something his company pursued but that she ultimately declined a contract offer.

Other potential suitors for VanZant seemed to include the likes of ONE Championship and PFL. She didn’t opt for either, though, and instead VanZant will shed her MMA gloves and enter the boxing ring to compete in bare knuckle.

It isn't unheard of for MMA fighters to make the jump to Bare Knuckle FC. Notable competitors since it formed in 2018 include Artem Lobov, Jason Knight, Chris Leben, Joey Beltran, Johnny Bedford, and more.

It’s unknown at this time which weight class VanZant will compete in under the Bare Knuckle FC banner. Her debut is not yet scheduled, but it's anticipated that she'll likely fight in November.

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