Paige VanZant: BKFC punch hurt way worse than Power Slap, clarifies comments on fighting being ‘part-time job’ now (2024)

Truth be told, Paige VanZant didn’t really expect to compete in Power Slap until she got a call from Dana White asking if she was seriously interested.

The conversation began after VanZant told her manager she would actually participate in the slap-fighting league started by the UFC CEO. Not long after she spoke to White on the phone, VanZant had a contract sent to her inbox.

“My manager, I don’t even know how it happened, we were talking about Power Slap, how crazy it was,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “We were at lunch and I was like, ‘Well, yeah, I would do it.’ He’s like, ‘No,’ and I said, ‘No, seriously, I would.’ Then all of sudden, I talked to Dana on the phone about it, and I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ I got the contract that same week and then I found out they wanted me on the Vegas card and it was two weeks away.

“I was like, there’s no time like the present. I don’t have time to stress about it or really get too nervous. I wanted to be thrown into the fire, so honestly, it was the best-case scenario.”

VanZant ultimately won her match by unanimous decision, with scoring effectively working similar to MMA — except in slap-fighting, each participate gets one slap each round. While she didn’t score a knockout, VanZant dropped opponent Christine Wolmarans twice during the match, so the judges didn’t have a tough time handing the win to the ex-UFC fighter.

When the match started, VanZant admits she actually wanted to get slapped first just so she could experience the feeling. VanZant instead delivered the first blow, but was actually surprised when Wolmarans returned the, leaving VanZant to smile back after getting cracked across the face.

“It was weird to stand there with your hands behind your back and I just stood there praying, let me eat this,” VanZant said. “Once I took the first one, I had all the confidence in the world.

“I was nervous going into it, but it’s more like just nerves that I don’t want to get knocked out. Because you just don’t know what to expect. That’s the only real bad-case scenario that can happen. After I took the first one, I pretty much knew I was going to win.”

While getting slapped isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience, VanZant says the feeling she had after taking three shots from Wolmarans doesn’t compare to a punch she ate during her second BKFC fight.

“I honestly didn’t [get hurt],” VanZant said. “More it was the sting of being slapped, that’s the only thing I could compare it to. It was more of a sting. I felt the impact, of course, it didn’t feel good, but when I compare it to taking a punch and being in bare-knuckle boxing, it’s entirely different.

“I remember there was a punch when me and Rachael Ostovich did our bare-knuckle boxing match and she hit me with this overhand right, and all of a sudden, I lost vision. I was like, ‘Oh crap, I’ve got to hold onto her.’ Where you really need to refocus your mind and let your mind clear. Whereas this, I felt present the entire time. There was never that dazed feeling.”

Following her match, VanZant said she would entertain a return to Power Slap. She hasn’t changed her mind now that the dust has settled and the adrenaline stopped flowing.

VanZant hasn’t had any discussions with White about returning for another Power Slap match, but she really is interested in doing it again.

“We haven’t had any conversations yet, but just looking back at the whole experience, I just enjoyed the whole process so much,” VanZant said. “Prior to fight night with my opponent — my opponent was so nice — we were able to talk beforehand. Just the whole process was so much more relaxed prior to an MMA fight or a boxing match. I just enjoyed the whole week. I don’t know why I wouldn’t do it again.

“I’m hoping they come and make an offer. Kind of going into it was like, ‘I only have to do this one time, a bucket list thing, I want to go do Power Slap, prove that I can,’ but then afterward it was like, ‘Shoot, that was really fun.’”

With the potential for another Power Slap outing, plus a rematch in boxing against Elle Brooke expected before the end of the year, and one more fight remaining on her BKFC contract, VanZant has plenty of options for her combat sports career.

Before her match in Power Slap, VanZant was quoted in a story with TMZ where she called fighting her “part-time job,” which is largely due to the financial windfall she’s enjoyed since starting her own OnlyFans page.

Addressing that comment, VanZant explained that her phrasing about a “part-time job” started as a joke after she endured a grueling five-round MMA session at American Top Team in Florida. As she vomited into a trash can, gym owner Dan Lambert joked that it was “crazy that you picked this as a part-time job.”

To be clear, VanZant says that she doesn’t consider fighting a hobby or a part-time job outside of the fact that combat sports no longer provides her primary income.

“My main sources of income don’t come from fighting,” VanZant explained. “My source of income, comes from all the other things that I do, the investments that I have, our real estate portfolio, our OnlyFans of course, endorsem*nt deals. So quote-unquote, fighting would technically be my part-time job.

“Just because it is one of my lower sources of income at this period of time, but that doesn’t mean that I’m treating it as a part-time job, where I’m only putting in minimal hours. It’s the same hours. It’s just in comparison to the other things we have going on, it’s just not as lucrative. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it, and I’m not dedicated to it.”

As far as which combat sport comes next, VanZant is leaving her options open.

“There’s opportunities all over to really capitalize and make the most money you can,” VanZant said. “For me, I just love competition. So whether it be MMA, boxing, or bare-knuckle boxing, or Power Slap, I’m just going to go where business and financially it makes sense, but also it gets me excited.”

Paige VanZant: BKFC punch hurt way worse than Power Slap, clarifies comments on fighting being ‘part-time job’ now (2024)

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