Despite only fighting four times in the last three years and twice in the last two, Paige VanZant is one of UFC’s most popular and bankable stars. But she doesn’t think that the UFC pays her like one.
VanZant went on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show on Monday and revealed that she makes more from her Instagram endorsements than she does fighting for the UFC.
“I make way more money sitting at home, posting pictures on Instagram, than I do fighting.”@paigevanzant says her endorsement earnings greatly outpace her fight earnings (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/dpdANFcbxU
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 26, 2019
VanZant didn’t reveal how much she makes from Instagram. But she has more than two million followers on that platform, who can all see whenever she posts sponsored content like this.
While it definitely doesn’t seem right that VanZant makes more from Instagram than she does at her actual job with the UFC, she’s had just two fights since the beginning of 2018, which may have something to do with it. VanZant’s most recent fight was against Rachel Ostovich during the debut of UFC on ESPN+ in January. It was her first win since 2016.
VanZant’s lack of fights isn’t about interest (or making money on Instagram), but about injuries. VanZant had to withdraw from UFC 236 in February due to a fractured arm, which was operated on back in June. Before that, she had two other surgeries on her arm which stemmed from an injury she sustained during her 2018 unanimous decision loss to Jessica-Rose Clark.
VanZant’s main priority is getting healthy so she can get back in the octagon. And even though she hasn’t fought much, she’s still extremely popular. When she’s finally ready to fight again, she wants her paycheck to reflect that — and with just one fight left on her UFC contract, she seems ready to take her talents elsewhere.
More from Yahoo Sports: