Paige VanZant Puts Her Face On The Line Tonight At Bare Knuckle Fight Event

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The money was too good to turn down. That’s why MMA superstar Paige VanZant will be fighting with her bare knuckles Friday night in Lakeland, Florida on the “Knucklemania” pay-per-view card from the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.

VanZant told Morning Kombat that the money and the opportunity to show she’s a badass was all it took to get her lined up to headline Bare Knuckle’s fight night.

“I think that for a long time, people consistently asked when I’m going to quit or when Hollywood is going to take me,” VanZant said. “I have had a lot of success outside of fighting, but I think people don’t realize that I’m a fighter first. That’s what I do, and that’s my identity. I absolutely love it. I am going to continue to take activities outside of fighting. That doesn’t mean they will take me out of fighting, it just means that I get to do other opportunities that other people don’t get to do. It’s exciting.”

One look at the fighting style associated with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship will show you that this sure isn’t the UFC, where she was 5-4 before deciding to make a career change. This will be quite different. Bare Knuckle fighting is exactly what it sounds like. Unlike the UFC and its padded fists, the BKFC features knuckles right out in the open ready to rearrange a fighter’s face.

“You get less concussions, less broken hands, less longterm injuries. I think it’s just going to elongate my career and show what I can do in boxing and get my resume that much better,” VanZant explained to Morning Kombat.

The Bare Knuckle rules include punching only strikes allowed, no knees, elbows, or kicks. The ring is circular, and fighters start the bout inside a circle in the middle of the ring. Fights are five rounds with rounds lasting two minutes. Fighters are told to “knuckle up” by the ref and it’s on. Punches have to be closed fists and fighters are allowed to punch their way out of clinches.

From there, it’s an absolute war and how willing you are to show your toughness.

VanZant’s deal with Bare Knuckle has been described by her manager as “a multi-million dollar deal, and we’re not even talking the sprinkles and the cherries that go on top of the sundae.” Friday night BKFC gets to see whether the financial risk it took to hire VanZant will pay off.

She’ll fight Britain Hart, who has three bare-knuckle fights on her resume, including a fourth-round TKO in her last fight on November 13. Hart and VanZant tangled at weigh-ins when Paige put her hand on Hart’s neck, setting off a Jerry Springer-like scene before order was restored.

BKFC’s “Knucklemania” can be purchased for $39.99. Fights start at 9 EST.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. What kind of logic says that you have less concussions, broken hands, and less long term injuries fighting with bare knuckles? Besides I thought she was trying to get into the simp market.

  2. I’m calling BS. The BKFC isn’t paying anyone ‘millions’, especially not a lower-tier UFC fighter who was only around as long as she was for her looks to begin with.

  3. I’ve been watching MMA since the beginning when there were no weight classes so I’m not morally opposed to bare-knuckle fighting. However, I can’t imagine it ever becoming mainstream.

    With respect to being a “safer” alternative to MMA you’ve got to have some kind of company line to attempt to legitimize your sport and make money.

    BTW Why would she want to have that face of hers get all busted up instead of just IGing?

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