Paige VanZant financially secure thanks to BKFC and new fan site, calls leaving UFC ‘the best decision I’ve ever made’

Following the end of her most recent UFC contract, Paige VanZant was excited to test the open market to see what she was really worth. But at the same time, she was anxious to face the unknown.

VanZant had no regrets about raising concerns over her salary in the UFC but that was also the only promotion she had ever really known since becoming a professional fighter.

It didn’t take long to realize the calculated move to bet big on herself had paid off after inking a lucrative four-fight deal to join the roster at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships. On top of that, VanZant also recently launched her own fan site where subscribers pay to see exclusive content, including photoshoots and videos that she posts, which has also netted her a healthy income.

All told, VanZant is financially secure — really for the first time in her entire career — and that’s all thanks to testing free agency and deciding to put the UFC behind her.

“I had my whole career was built off the UFC,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “I was in the UFC for like six years. It was very nerve-wracking. There weren’t a lot of people who left the UFC in the prime of their career. There were a lot of veterans that had left the UFC that were kind of on that tail end, looking for a few more fights.

“For me, I was a free agent at 26 years old. I was really young. It was nerve-wracking to know you’re leaving the powerhouse of combat sports. But now I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since I’ve left, I’ve seen multiple fighters leave the UFC — and it’s not a diss at the UFC necessarily, but I think it’s more an awakening in fighters knowing there’s money out there and we’re going to be compensated for what we’re doing.”

Towards the end of her time with the UFC, VanZant also sought out new management in hopes that better representation would help navigate the stormy waters of free agency in combat sports.

According to VanZant’s husband and current Bellator middleweight contender Austin Vanderford, that was a key element in securing their future.

“Meeting Malki [Kawa] and signing with First Round [Management] was truly … I can’t say it enough how much of a life changer it’s been for us,” Vanderford said. “Before we signed with them, he said, ‘I need you guys to agree that you’re going to follow my lead and you’re going to do what I say and you’re going to trust me,’ and so far it’s hard to even imagine. They’ve just done such a good job.

“He’s been one of the front guys in getting his clients to move on and go to these other organizations and get paid. It’s been worth it.”

While VanZant knew that she wasn’t being paid her true value when leaving the UFC, there was still no telling exactly what she would end up making on the open market.

After receiving her new contract from BKFC, the now 27-year-old fighter began to realize and appreciate what she was worth to a different company.

“I was in the UFC for six years, I’ve been fighting for eight years and it’s finally paying off,” VanZant said. “This year finally paid off to where I’m feeling comfortable with my life.”

Beyond her fight career with BKFC, VanZant also took the plunge to launch her fan site — a subscription based service that is comparable to another popular website called OnlyFans, where content creators can post whatever they want from photos to videos to audio clips, oftentimes adult-oriented — that goes behind a paywall.

At first, VanZant was hesitant to launch her own site. But after realizing the personal control she would maintain over the content, not to mention the financial benefits it would provide her, she decided to take a shot at it.

“There was always this back and forth,” VanZant said about her decision. “There’s two sides of it. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would lose business opportunities based on having an exclusive content site, but I feel like I’m already seen as a sex symbol in the sports world. I might as well have the monetization behind it. I wanted to do it on my own terms. So I actually joined Fan Time, it’s a separate company. I’m not with OnlyFans. It’s PaigeFanZant.com and it’s my own website and I have a lot of control over what goes on there. It’s basically me doing exclusive things. I’m proud to say I’m part of it.

“I work hard for my body. I work hard for who I am, and there’s a side of me that’s extremely girly and feminine, and I get to share that on my fan site. Now I think it’s becoming a lot more acceptable. Before, the OnlyFans was seen more for just like porn stars. It was a little bit more X-rated, just the view from the public. Not saying that’s actually what people have on there, but I wanted to do it my own way. I wanted to do it professionally and have my own website and that’s what I’ve done.”

Before she launched her site, VanZant and Vanderford made sure their parents understood what was happening and that this was something that she really wanted to do. VanZant added that Vanderford was supportive of the idea even before she fully made her decision.

“I was kind of the one against it and he pushed me like, ‘screw it go for it, go have fun,’” VanZant said with a laugh.

The ability to call the shots with her own content was a huge part of VanZant launching the site and she’s also happy to show off a different side of herself away from the cage or the ring.

“I’m sharing what I’m comfortable with,” VanZant said. “I’m sharing as much as I want to. It’s my website. It’s my experience. It is for the fans. I’ve had so many people ask me to do something like this, the exclusive content site and it’s a place where I can communicate one-on-one with absolutely every single one of my subscribers, and I can’t do that on Instagram. I have nearly 3 million followers on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and all these other things.

“With the fan site, it is a smaller group but I’m able to have that one-on-one, real engaging experience with people and that’s what I really like. I’m getting to know people one on one and chat with people and also have some fun and be really cute and sexy, too.”

When it comes to the finances from her fan site, VanZant can’t deny that the benefits have been great so far, especially compared to her lifetime earnings from fighting.

“I will say when I signed with BKFC, the bare-knuckle boxing, I was making more money than I had made in my entire UFC career,” VanZant said. “Now I’m making more money than my entire BKFC contract in like a month. It’s pretty crazy.”

After enduring financial turmoil towards the end of her career with the UFC, VanZant and Vanderford can say they are finally in a good place with the kind of security that will provide them a happy and healthy life long after fighting is finished.

“I don’t have to, when I’m done fighting, get a regular job and have to go back to work,” VanZant said. “I’m not planning for when I retire to go to college or try to figure out what’s next in my life. I’m able to just fight and save money and plan when I want to retire, I can just retire.”

Comments

Well I'm glad you're financially set Paige, but I'll wait until your next few fights to see if it was a good idea.

So much of Paige’s success hinges on her looks and those can be altered with a few Nate Diaz/Forrest Griffin-type of cuts. I’m guessing Bec wants revenge on Paige for losing. I can see her doing her best to truly hurt Paige.

I enjoyed Paige in the UFC. She was positive, fought well (including continuing a fight with a broken arm), all when she was making more money posing semi-nude with her husband and her stint with DWTS.

I respect her even more continuing to fight with no gloves. A lot more risk of being disfigured.

She made more in one fight in BKFC than her whole ufc career combined. No matter what it’s a win

Yes her looks plays a factor, but in 2021 there are 1 million people online that look like her and have a following on social media. If she keeps losing in the ufc for 40k..which would’ve kept happening then people would’ve stopped caring about her regardless of looks.

When she retires from fighting noones gonna care about her looks anymore unless she had a successful career

good for her, her plan is working 100% so far.

She wasn’t moving up in ranks in the UFC and
fighting BKFC is lucrative and the competition level is average at best.
She can make her money without ever winning or coming close to winning. In the UFC that is usually not the case.

yet....

without UFC and those 3 letter nobody in combat world would know her or give a sh&%$#it ab her, hence all these opportunities wouldn’t even exist….
these opportunities only exist for UFC fighters and not MMA fighters just bc of those 3 letters bf most ppl (casuals and even mainstream non-MMA media) don’t give shi&%$t ab anything else……..
not to mention, with all the simps around whe would be set for life just with OnlyFansbc nobody seeing her bc of hers combat abilities which are really bad, only thing she has is toughness and heart….
af few loses and scars, and when they find new ‘barbie’ she will lear the hard way….
remember she was talking the same way ab UFC and Dana when she got that ‘Rebook’ deal bf than champ Esparza and many other much more known fighters, and then there was even a ‘backlash’ from certain fighters and fans……
and as while she was pushed and hyped by UFC as next big thing – ‘big prospect and potential star’, she ‘played different tune’ ab UFC and Dana……
anyway it worked for her, but saying it’s can be done by anybody is a lie bc many ex-UFC guys went to BKFC and none of them is ‘set for life’, not even close, yet they are/were bigger stars in MMA ‘bubble’ and legit fighters, unlike her while getting paid fraction what she gets despite putting much more entertaining fights…….

Can somebody make a spark notes version of this?

If it weren't for Ufc, nobody would know her

She didn’t say joining the ufc was the worst decision she’s ever had, she said LEAVING was the best decision ever, there’s a difference

Of course the ufc made her who she was, but it became stagnent once she started losing fights. It would’ve been foolish of her to stay in the ufc for 40k a fight on undercards if she could get more in one 10-15 min fight than her entire ufc career combined.

The ufc was important in the beginning stages of her career, but in this stage it no longer is financially

When Paige first signed with BKFC...

People taught the world was over for her… not realizing that her brand was already strong enough to not need the UFC… and not even a perfect face for that matter! Few realized it was a win if she smoked these girls out the Blue… but it was also a win if she lost… since she’d be able to latch onto the female empowerment landscape about how she was courageous to sacrifice her looks for an opportunity! Yet she chose another avenue by opening her own version of OnlyFans… driving traffic with her own URL… and still making 5 figures / Month. Not only she’s winning (even when loosing)… but she’s laughing all the way to the Bank!!

Not only she’s winning (even when loosing)

is she winning even when tighting as well?

Why do you end all your sentences with "..."?

It’s so weird… never understood it… when just a full stop is appropriate… do you trail off when you are speaking in real life or something…?

...I have no idea....

Glad I'm not the only one...

To be continued...

So Do You Really Believe if Kayla Harrison looked like Paige...

She would be unknown? If she was a Hot marketable babe you’d be seeing her everywhere to the point people would think she was already in the UFC!!

I know who Kayla Harrison is

A few weeks ago, we were watching some Bellator fight and a new apparently pretty hyped prospect fought.

Very good looking. And obviously marketing that angle. Kinda big Instagram page.

I can’t remember her name.

Do you know who I’m talking about? Without looking it up? She’s pretty and marketed on that by Bellator apparently pretty heavily -

Not a rhetorical question. I’m curious if she’s better known than I’m thinking.

are you talking about

Valerie Loureda ?

No, I think this was a Russian fighter

Hadn’t heard of Loureda until this thread. Just googled her and most of the stories were about Instagram page; potential acting opportunities and her only fans type site.

It’s hard to take a fighter as seriously if her focus seems to be on all of that more than fighting.

Being a UFC fighter and having been promoted heavily by the organization for years

Makes her a name fighter and therefore valuable to other organizations.

This. People bawk at exposure, but she was on Dancing with the Stars as a fighter with a 6-2 record.

Her site would have zero subs if she hadn’t been in the UFC. They tried to make her the face of the reebok deal with Sage back then too, and the other fighters were pissed at the extra money when they were all losing their sponsors.

Why is this worth noting?

Yes. Obviously.

The UFC provided an opportunity to make her famous and they also made a lot of money off Paige. Then, when they felt she wasn’t worth as much as the open market was offering, she went elsewhere.

She doesn’t owe anything to the UFC and they didn’t "make her" because the UFC doesn’t make stars. They give fighters opportunities and then capitalize like crazy on the popular fighters and big fights. Paige made herself a huge star.

It was a mutually beneficial relationship. I never get why people always say so and so would be nothing without the UFC. Fans make fighters popular and the personalities and skills the fighters show shape that. The UFC is just profiting off it all and good for them, too.

Because she's coming off as kinda bitter - and because it points out her market value is not intrinsic but based on her value as a high profile UFC fighter

Her relationship with the organization made her much more famous than she probably would have ever been otherwise and made her valuable to an organization like BKFC (who presumably sees value in signing UFC fighters who people have heard of…..and maybe especially sees value in signing UFC fighters who people have heard of….who some of their fighters can beat)

It’s not as though BKFC routinely pays fighters more than the UFC does.

And yes, it was mutually beneficial for awhile. Then it seemed like both parties kind of soured on the relationship (Was the UFC even going to re-sign VanZant?)

I basically agree with your post. I’m not suggesting the UFC did Paige some big favor out of the goodness of their hearts or anything like that. People have been on this kick of going on and on about how fighters are so underpaid, etc. (Though it seems only in the UFC — though they seem to pay as much or more than other promotions) so I thought it worth pointing out that time in the world’s most high profile MMA organization is worth more than just the direct paycheck.

And because it is a particularly good concrete example of how exposure translates to $$

Well said. If only more people could understand this.

Perhaps someone who believes the UFC makes stars could explain why they couldn’t make a ppv star out of Demetrius Johnson.

If the UFC could just churn out stars, they’d sell way more ppvs than Jake Paul on a regular basis.

Lots of fighters got recognized/famous without the help of the UFC. In fact, many longtime mma fans know that one of the formulas to getting a bigger UFC contract was to make your name outside the UFC.

Fighters who make a name for themselves outside the UFC....

Have to actually be really good.

Better than just an average professional fighter.

Fighters like Sage and Paige did get where they are largely because of a heavy promotional push. They had to show up. Had to be game – and charming. And likeable. But they were given advantages and visibility beyond most.

I really don’t think that should be a controversial statement.

They got a LOT more attention and focus simply because of being good looking and likeable -

And don’t get me wrong, I like them and am glad to see them cash in.

But I wouldn’t describe either Sage or Paige as ever having been exactly a star —- they are recognizable names.

Neither really rose that high in the rankings but both wound up kinda rich.

And good for them. But they did benefit from somewhat preferential treatment.

Feel like that is happening less and less nowadays.

You guys don't get it...

She’s going to make millions off her pagefanzant site… ever watched a Twitch hot tub stream? Tits and ass sell 10000× more than mma

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