Paige VanZant probably knows better than most that social media isn’t real life, but she’s promising to offer more authenticity moving forward on her various channels after she received body-shaming comments online.
The 29-year-old UFC and BKFC veteran addressed the subject in a lengthy post on Instagram where she fired back at criticism she’s received in recent months. If there was a positive result from the online bullying it’s that VanZant realized that she wanted to start sharing images that present all sides of herself and she certainly isn’t going to apologize for the way she looks.
“I have been really good at putting my best self forward,” VanZant wrote. “Making sure the world sees the ‘prettiest’ side of me. Where I fell short is that I never showed the true me. Until now. The truth is, yes, I have gained a lot of weight … probably 20-plus pounds, but I also gained strength, power, muscle and a f*** ton of happiness. I see every single comment on my YouTube channel about how I look pregnant, obese, fat as f***, and won’t be able to fit through a door soon. But one thing I have always remembered — happy people ain’t haters and haters ain’t happy.
“So all you haters out there keep on commenting, you’re only growing my platform. And I promise from this day forward to show the real me, forever. The fat me, the broken me, the skinny me, and the happiest f****** version of me I have ever been. Social media will never be real but I’ll try and be better. Anyway, check out my YouTube channel. Because I’ll be damned if I don’t continue to profit off of THE BEST HATERS IN THE WORLD. Yours in thickness.”
VanZant, who exited the UFC in 2020 after the end of her contract with the promotion, eventually tested herself in bare-knuckle competition after inking a lucrative deal with BKFC.
She went 0-2 in her first two fights, losing decisions to current BKFC strawweight champion Britain Hart and Rachael Ostovich in 2021.
VanZant was originally scheduled to compete again this past August, but her bout against Charisa Sigala was pulled from a BKFC card in London at the last minute. She hasn’t been rescheduled to compete since that time.
While she hasn’t been active in her fight career, VanZant has stayed busy with her online presence, building a personal website and OnlyFans page where fans pay a monthly subscription to see photos and videos of the ex-UFC star.
VanZant previously told MMA Fighting that she’s earned far more money from those websites than she ever did during her fighting career, though she still planned on competing again in the future.
“Theoretically I could [retire],” VanZant said this past August. “I don’t have to fight another day in my life. It’s an athlete thing and some people wouldn’t understand it. If you ask LeBron James why do you still play basketball? You don’t need to. Why do all these NBA players, NFL players get to a point in their career like Tom Brady — he doesn’t need to play football anymore, but why does he? Because he’s the greatest of all time, because he wants to continue to compete. It’s what he does. It’s in his blood.
“I don’t compare myself to those people and their greatness, but definitely to their drive to want to continue to be successful. I feel like that’s a part of me as well.”