She used to conquer the Octagon, but it turns out, she's getting more moolah posting on her "insta."
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UFC veteran Paige VanZant, 25, shocked fans with her revelation this week that she is seeking a new contract with the company due to pay disparity. VanZant appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday to discuss her career’s trajectory.
In a clip from the interview, which was shared on Twitter and quickly went viral, VanZant explained that she is seeking a pay raise although she’s already been told that she wouldn’t earn pay that’s on par with a UFC champion.
“I make way more money sitting at home, posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting,” she said. “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 you comparing me to just women? All of us should be getting paid more in general.”
She added that if she didn’t make a living outside of the sport and lived off UFC fights and endorsements alone, she would be at a loss.
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“I want a significant pay raise, to be completely honest. I’ve just been extremely accomplished outside of the UFC, as well as inside of the UFC,” she told Helwani. “Five wins in the UFC, four finishes, I've been main event twice, and I think someone with those accolades should be paid more.”
However, with injuries holding her back from her fighting career, it’s not hard to see why VanZant has leveraged her 2.3 million Instagram followers and TV appearances as a source of income, some of which include her appearances on Dancing with the Stars,” “Chopped” and varied entertainment platforms as a sports commentator.
VanZant was also a model in the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and has landed a feature in Adidas’ “She Breaks Barriers” campaign.
Despite being a recognizable and beloved star, she has only entered the octagon eight times since joining the American mixed martial arts promotion company in 2014 as a flyweight.
VanZant’s last fight was on Jan. 19 at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw, which took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. There, she defeated Rachel Ostovich in round two with an armbar submission.
Previous to that, VanZant lost two consecutive fights; one to Jessica Rose-Clark on Jan. 14, 2018 and the other to Michelle Waterson on Dec. 17, 2016.
However, this gap in her resume is a result of a slew of serious arm injuries that sidelined her from fighting for an entire year. A month after her fight with Ostovich, VanZant reinjured her arm with another fracture. By June, she revealed that the fracture hadn’t healed properly and would need more surgery to properly recover.
Currently, VanZant has one fight left on her UFC contract.