Paige VanZant is set to be a free agent after her next fight. She has made it known she will test free agency to see her value and explore her potential options.
Of course, VanZant is a big draw in the UFC and has shown she is a capable fighter. She is currently just 25-years-old, is 8-4 as a pro and 5-3 inside the Octagon. She has also headlined two UFC shows and knows she has the drawing power to bring in eyeballs and money for the UFC.
Yet, she says her pay does not reflect that. Her last disclosed purse was an estimated 91,000 with a 43,000 show/win split and a 5,000 fight week incentive pay. But, she still thinks she deserves more and gave reasons as to why.
“I do think my value is significantly higher than what I’m currently valued at,” VanZant said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “I want a significant pay raise, to be completely honest, I do think that my value is really low [right now]. My manager says I need to start talking highly about myself and standing up for myself. When I fought Michelle Waterson, we had some of the highest views on FOX in years and years and years. We set the record, we blew everyone out. We had amazing views when we were on FOX. Killed it on FOX. Coming off of Dancing with the Stars, with the fan base I’ve been able to build up, doing my book tour… I’ve just been extremely accomplished outside of the UFC as well as in the UFC.”
“I see these other stars that cross over from other organizations,” Paige VanZant continued. “Take CM Punk. I don’t think I have quite the same star value CM Punk does. It’s a different industry, and he has a huge fanbase where he comes from. Greg Hardy, him coming over from football. All these other stars, and what the UFC values them at, I’m not saying they’re devaluing me, because this is an extremely old contract, but I do know how much money I make in comparison to them, and I do want to show the UFC that I’m so much more than a star outside of fighting. I’m a star in the UFC as well.”
The hope for Paige VanZant is that she can get a win in her next fight and enter free agency on a two-fight winning streak and remain ranked. But, ‘PVZ’ also says fighting may not be worth it. She revealed that she makes more money on Instagram and sponsors than she does fighting so she is at a loss when she fights.
“With endorsements, I make way more money sitting at home posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting,” she said. “If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and just fight, I would be at a loss. By a long shot.”
Regardless, Paige VanZant will no doubt be a hot commodity when she enters the open market. Bellator could come calling given her husband, Austin Vanderford fights for the promotion, or the Las Vegas-based promotion could extend her.
No matter what, VanZant wants to be paid what she is worth and the hope is she can get that after her next fight.
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The Scrap’s Cole Shelton is a full-time MMA writer for various news outlets. Make sure to follow Cole on Twitter (@ColeShelton91) for a variety of content.