In Las Vegas this week, the UFC Antitrust lawsuit filed by Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry, and Cung Le is kicking into high gear as the expert hearings have begun and much of that live testimony so far has centered around fighter pay. So it’s unfortunate for the UFC that at the same time, on the other side of the country, one of their biggest stars is also commenting about the UFC’s pay structure.
Paige VanZant is one of the most recognizable names in the sport. But with only one fight left on her current UFC contract, VanZant told Ariel Helwani on Monday that she intends to finish this contract out and then will be asking for a substantial pay raise for her next one.
“In general, I’m happy where I am but I do think my value is significantly higher than what I’m currently valued at,” VanZant said. “I want a significant pay raise, to be completely honest. I do think that my value is really low. My manager says I need to start talking highly about myself and standing up for myself. So 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. 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 just a star outside of fighting. I’m a star in the UFC as well. I’m really talented, I’ve been working hard, I just have had a string of unfortunate luck with my arm and I think I need to put in perspective all the things that I have done. I’ve had five wins in the UFC, four finishes, two armbars, one knockout, an awesome record, I’ve been main event twice, and I think someone with those accolades should be paid more.”
VanZant has had a successful run in the UFC but has been arguably even more successful outside of the cage. She’s written a book, been featured in Sports Illustrated, and even competed on Dancing With the Stars, but VanZant says that she’s still fighting out a contract that she signed back when the Fertitta brothers owned the UFC. Now, some of that has to do with her injury history which has been extensive, but VanZant still says that continuing to fight at her current pay structure would actually be a financial loss for her instead of pursuing other, more lucrative endeavors. And it’s not just her. VanZant says all fighters, especially female fighters, should be getting paid more.
“The hard thing for me to put in perspective is with endorsements I make way more money sitting at home, posting pictures on Instagram, than I do fighting,” VanZant said. “With endorsement deals and everything I pull in from social media, I would actually be a a loss just taking a fight and focusing on that. If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and take a fight, I would be at a loss financially.
“With TV endorsements and all the things that I do, and coming off of Sports Illustrated, if I’m gonna keep breaking my arm, if I’m gonna keep sacrificing for this sport - I feel like it’s all fighters and all female fighters need to be recognized.
“When I did my contract negotiation the last time, the talk was, ‘I can’t pay you more than a female champion.’ Okay, but why are comparing me to just women? All of us should be getting paid more in general. Especially the women and especially based on your star power.”
VanZant is currently recovering from yet another arm surgery. Over the last couple of years she has had repeated issues with a broken arm that has required multiple surgeries. However, VanZant says she’s almost back from this one and should be able to start sparring soon enough, and expects to finish out the last fight on her contract this year and remind the UFC who she is and why they should be paying her more.
“I for sure am gonna fight this year,” VanZant said. “Once I start sparring I want to sign a fight contract and be like six weeks out. I only have one left on my deal. I’m gonna fight it out. Knowing it’s my last fight I do want to go out with a statement. I want to come off of two wins, I want to really show what I’m worth.”
VanZant last competed in January, submitting Rachael Ostovich with an armbar in the UFC’s first fight card on ESPN+.
Ouch. Kelvin Gastelum welcomes Darren Till to middleweight at UFC 244.
USADA. CB Dollaway suspended two years by USADA after testing positive for multiple banned substances.
No duh. Frankie Edgar willing to delay bantamweight move for Conor McGregor fight.
Interim. Aljamain Sterling believes an interim title fight against Petr Yan should be next for him.
135. Dana White: ‘No way’ Jose Aldo makes the move down to bantamweight.
Antitrust. Lyoto Machida’s contract had stoppage bonuses at one point in his UFC career.
This is An MMA News Show
MixedMollyWhoppery on Colby Covington.
Road to UFC 242.
Dominick Cruz confidently proclaiming “nope, she can’t lift her” literally seconds before Andrade slams for the win is still one of the funniest things to happen in MMA.
Top 5 finishes of Andrade.
T-Wood dropping more bangers.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing Conor’s apology, Bellator 225, and UFC Shenzhen.
Anik & Florian. Previewing UFC Shenzhen and Jessica Andrade’s first title defense.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Jon with a moment of real class.
All beef aside, I’m really sorry about your loss DC. Know that he’s in heaven with the opportunity to watch you front row and center for the rest of your life. Continue living a life that makes him proud. Thoughts go out to you and your family today https://t.co/8IyQGzXt4a— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 26, 2019
Also, here’s Jon’s new belt plate.
View this post on Instagram
Every time we win a world title the @UFC removes a diamond and replaces it with a red ruby, this just started recently. I love little things like this, just another way to keep us motivated. Can’t wait to have a belt covered in red one day. Earning it is going to be a b*tch but I’m up for the challenge
Just fight already.
Who did you put in place dreamer? You are the one who afraid to come to Russia to fight me. Stop pretending you want that smoke. Stay in your comfort zone sissy https://t.co/r3Zfo1BuMp— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) August 27, 2019
Missed this yesterday but this is pretty cool.
Well done @NotoriousNewell. Damn it you're just the best. Never ever give up— Jim Abbott (@jabbottum31) August 25, 2019
This is what we call “a bad take”. Don’t be like Erik.
So she complains about the money fighting, but UFC literally launched her “instagram career” gtfo man. Shouldn’t complain about money when you make it not doing shit. https://t.co/AgIJFQSPjS— Erik Jon Koch (@NEWBREED04) August 26, 2019
He’s just the worst.
A public service announcement from Triple C. “Tune up fight” @DominickCruz @danawhite pic.twitter.com/hkUnnz8xaD— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) August 27, 2019
And he’s the weirdest.
Wait It’s Not Tuesday!? What Time Is It!? It’s # TiramisuTime A Day Early Bitches! This Outta Make Ol’ Slugworth @khabib_nurmagomedov @TeamKhabib @AliAbdelaziz00 Cray Cray. Mcnugget Monday Switched To Friday Which Makes Today That Much Sweeter -CSO- MF’as -Champ pic.twitter.com/oTuzUlIKEk— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) August 27, 2019
Just imagine the beatdown islam would put on him.
one day this fight needs to happen pic.twitter.com/NhYKvibBLN— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) August 26, 2019
Learn to fight first you bum https://t.co/pbnDLS76XE— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) August 26, 2019
I promise more than anything the last thing you wanna do is fight Islam lol stick to the Wendy’s workers bellator feeds you https://t.co/dAaP6Jq5qy— Deron Winn (@DeronWinn) August 26, 2019
The official #UFC243 poster is here— UFC Aus/New Zealand (@UFC_AUSNZ) August 26, 2019
See you in Melbourne Oct. 6th. s available: https://t.co/PEIrYe3QgP pic.twitter.com/Pm1mdZltuC
Kendrick got hands.
Kendrick Lamar in the gym working on his hands pic.twitter.com/cv7uZiDSmJ— Rap All-Stars (@RapAllStars) August 25, 2019
Thomas Gifford (17-8, 2 NC) vs. Brok Weaver (14-4); UFC Tampa, Oct. 12.
Michael Johnson (19-14) vs. Stevie Ray (22-9); UFC Singapore, Oct. 26.
Kelvin Gastelum (16-4) vs. Darren Till (17-2-1); UFC 244, Nov. 2.
Pumped about the comment section for this one. I’m sure it’s gonna be civil and filled with nuanced arguments
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Does VanZant end up re-signing with the UFC or move on to greener pastures?
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