Former UFC fighter Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant signed with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), turning down the Bellator offer. We had speculated that the Dancing With The Stars alumni would most likely sign with Bellator.
First reported by ESPN, VanZant (5-4 UFC, 8-5 MMA), expressed her excitement for her new home.
“It was an amazing contract, an amazing opportunity,” Paige VanZant explained to ESPN. “I also feel like it’s not a move backwards for me. It’s a lateral move to a new opportunity, a new challenge, a brand new sport. I really have sparked a brand new passion for it and especially for striking in general.
VanZant was matched up with rising star Amanda Ribas for her last fight on her UFC contract at UFC 251. After the loss Dana White made it clear that she was welcome to explore free agency. The deal is with BKFC is reportedly worth over $1 million which is a significant increased from what she earned at the UFC.
She continued to explain the exciting turn of events to ESPN.
“I talked to a lot of different promotions,” explained VanZant. “I actually had no idea that I would have so many come with such big offers. I knew I would get the big players in the game, like Bellator or ONE, but I actually had five or six huge, solid promotions that I had to decide on. For me, at this moment in my career, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship was the one that fit best.”