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Ex-UFC Fighter Paige VanZant Reportedly Signs Bare Knuckle Fighting Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2020

Paige VanZant before fighting Michelle Waterson UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts fight in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Paige VanZant has signed a multifight contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, according to ESPN's Ariel Helwani.

VanZant alluded to the development on Instagram. She shared a photo in which she was signing a contract, and she wrote in the caption that she was "about to change the game."

The 26-year-old was most recently signed to UFC. Her deal expired following her defeat to Amanda Ribas at UFC 251 in July. She's 8-5 in her professional MMA career.

During his post-UFC 251 press conference, UFC President Dana White said he wouldn't stand in VanZant's way if she wanted to pursue other opportunities.

"I like Paige," he said, per MMA Fighting's Steven Marrocco. "It's like [Curtis] Blaydes, when Blaydes fought last. When you talk all that stuff, 'I'm not being paid enough,' and fighting inconsistently, one time in the last year, injuries, and then got smoked in the first round of the fight, she should definitely test free agency."

VanZant had explained her frustration with her previous UFC contract to MMA Fighting's Damon Martin, telling Martin she "could have just had a regular job with the same pay."

Bellator President Scott Coker told Marrocco the promotion had extended her an offer before she signed with BKFC.

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Some had wondered whether a move to WWE beckoned.

Renee Young @ReneeYoungWWE

What are the odds we see @paigevanzant in a @WWE ring?

A number of former MMA fighters have found success with the company, and VanZant told TMZ Sports in January 2018 that a transition to professional wrestling would be intriguing.

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