Paige VanZant is firmly among the growing list of notable fighters to feel undervalued by the UFC.
Going all the way back to summer of 2019, VanZant, 26, has been firm in her desire to test free agency once her current UFC contract is complete. And although injuries have prolonged the timeline of her contract, the Team Quest talent made it clear in a recent interview with MMA Fighting that, following her fight against Amanda Ribas at UFC 251 on July 11, those plans remain unchanged.
“I feel like I am betting on myself here. You don’t know your value until you test it. I want to know what people see my value as,” PVZ said. “I feel like more than ever, especially with me hurting myself, that if I’m going to be a professional fighter, I need it to be worth it for me. It needs to be worth me breaking my arm everyday and walking into the cage and bleeding and sacrificing.”
“I’ve added up all the money I’ve made in the UFC over six years, and I could have just had a regular job with the same pay,” the cross-over talent continued. “I’m so thankful for everything the UFC has done for me, the platform they’ve given me. This is nothing against the UFC. But the contract I signed is what I signed and I know I need to honor it. That’s why I’m fighting this last fight out and I was never trying to break it early.”
Still, VanZant has no reservations about the contract she signed with the UFC: “It’s important to fight this fight out, honor my contract and then say listen this is my value and this is what I need to be paid to make it worth it.”
Unfortunately, the popular flyweight has been burdened with a reoccurring arm injury that not only affected in her UFC career, but also her bank account directly.
“If I have any more problems with my arm, they aren’t covered by the UFC. They only cover up to a year after your injury date and then you have to pay. I don’t have my own health insurance, which is awful, but it’s expensive,” VanZant said. “A year after my injury, I went to go get another doctor’s opinion for my arm to make sure it’s all good and they’re like ‘your insurance is not covered anymore because the UFC only covers up to a year after your injury date.’ So I was like ‘Oh no, here we go.’ Now I have to think about getting health insurance to cover my arm injury that I broke in the UFC.”
Her feelings echo what many fighters have felt for a long time but are beginning to express more often.
“There’s so many factors and I think it’s important we’re getting paid what we’re bleeding and breaking for,” she insisted. “People just need to pay attention, we are sacrificing day in and day out and we feel we need to be paid our true value.”
“I love the UFC. I love fighting for them. They’ve given me so many opportunities but I’m trying to set up a future for myself. I’m not trying to compare myself to any other fighter. I’m not saying I deserve more than any other UFC fighter. I think we all deserve more,” she concluded. “We all deserve to be paid more.”
UFC 251 is headlined by Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal for the welterweight title. It also boasts Alex Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2, Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan and Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade 2.
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