Paige VanZant’s Bare Knuckle Debut Doesn’t Go As Planned

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Paige VanZant came out tentative Friday night in her Bare Knuckle Fighting Fighting Championship debut at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida and paid the price. By the time VanZant started throwing bare-knuckle bombs for her 2.7 million Instagram fans, it was too late as her opponent, Britain Hart, had controlled the fight and held off a late flurry from a desperate VanZant to win a unanimous decision.

“Humble in victory. Humble in defeat,” VanZant wrote on Instagram after making her debut in a fighting league that is reportedly paying her ten times what she was making from the UFC where she had a 5-4 record.

While VanZant took home a huge check, Hart earned a 49-46 decision from the judges who saw her work over the bare-knuckle rookie whose inexperience showed as VanZant couldn’t find a way to get comfortable during the first three rounds of the five-round fight. This won’t be the last time you see VanZant bare knuckled. She earned big time money to take Friday night’s abuse for a pay-per-view audience.

“I was in the UFC for six years getting paid $40,000 (to show) and $40,000 (to win), and now I’m getting ten times that doing what I love,” VanZant said during Friday’s fight weigh-ins.

“So obviously, I’m not going anywhere. I’m very happy fighting here and I’m excited to fight.”

What’s the future of the BKFC? Shaq was ringside Friday night and told USA Today that he plans to invest in the sport.

“These are the greatest, toughest athletes in the world,’’ he said between fights. “The fact that they’re not using gloves makes them the toughest athletes in the world. I think this is the future of fighting.’’

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. I didn’t think she had a win in her. She simply didn’t match up well with the other girl. Too short, not enough reach and reliant on another style of fighting.

    All good though because her nearly 3 million imaginary friends on IG will give her all the comfort and support she needs to be a bad ass

  2. Courage is facing fears and overcoming the challenges to do so. She jumped in that circle with a skillset and showed no fear and admittedly, did the fight for a better payday than that from which she had experience with. She wasn’t courageous, she was motivated and that is a stark difference for why she chose to do so to begin with.

    I got a bad ass badge in a box of cracker jacks, so I know a thing or two.

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