Her rising profile has additionally satisfied her that it is time to change into a voice for equality in MMA.
“I genuinely imagine — and I do not know if we’re ever going to get a real reply from the promotional corporations — that the ladies outsell the male fighters,” VanZant mentioned.
“There are the few that stick out — comparable to Conor McGregor as a result of he is a celebrity — however if you’re trying on the card, the ladies are bringing within the cash, they’re bringing within the eyes, they carry a lot to the desk.
“We needs to be checked out as equals. It’s true that females receives a commission lower than the lads. At this level, it is greater than, ‘I wish to be paid the identical as a person.’ All of us fighters must get what we deserve, and I actually suppose that. I simply wished to see my true worth.”
CNN has requested figures from UFC on how receipts examine between feminine and male fighters however has not obtained a response on the time of publication.
Nonetheless, UFC president Dana White is adamant that the game is extra equal than others, with women and men having comparable beginning wages.
“In contrast to sports activities, women and men within the UFC have the identical beginning compensation to supply an equal taking part in subject,” White mentioned in an announcement given to CNN.
“Evaluating common compensation at comparable tenures reveals that feminine athletes receives a commission an equal or larger quantity than the male athletes. Particularly, VanZant has made significantly greater than the common male athlete that has been competing for a similar period of time within the UFC.”
VanZant grew to become concerned with MMA as a means of “combating again.”
In her e book “Rise: Surviving the Combat of My Life,” VanZant particulars how as a young person, she persistently suffered bullying and was raped by a number of male classmates at a celebration.
After being launched to former UFC fighter Ken Shamrock’s fitness center, VanZant discovered that combating helped regain her confidence.
“It was my means of standing up for myself and getting my power and energy and persevering with to achieve success regardless of all the pieces I went by,” she mentioned.
“I did not get into combating to discover ways to beat up individuals who have been bullies however I positively gained again my confidence, I gained a lot from combating that every one the success is a solution to present that I did not let another person outline me or break me and I am a lot greater than a survivor of my previous.”
After making her skilled MMA debut aged simply 18, VanZant’s rise was meteoric.
She was considered one of 11 ladies signed to the UFC’s newly created Strawweight division and after just one combat, in February 2015, grew to become solely the sixth UFC fighter to land an individualized Reebok deal.
On the time, the signing of the then 20-year-old was criticized as a result of 4 of the opposite 5 fighters signed to Reebok have been both UFC champions or former champions, whereas the lone outlier, McGregor, was already a star within the making.
White pointed to VanZant’s “it” issue as the rationale behind her signing, including that there one thing that makes you “wish to tune in and watch and it is not essentially simply outlined by beauty.”
Whereas there was some media criticism prior to now, the vast majority of the negativity got here from VanZant’s fellow rivals, one thing which damage her.
“It was positively disappointing as a result of I had gone by bullying my total life and I did not anticipate as an grownup within the skilled world to have women nonetheless bullying me,” VanZant mentioned. “After all, I used to be used to it and I knew that their points weren’t with me however have been with themselves.
“They clearly wished to be the place I used to be, they usually weren’t getting it. I am attempting to alter ladies and present that it’s essential be good to one another and be comfortable for one another’s successes and never attempting to tear individuals down as a result of they’re doing one thing you want you have been doing.”
Dealing with accidents
VanZant’s skilled combating profession has had its downsides.
She needed to pull out of UFC 216 due to a herniated disc, double ear an infection, sinus an infection, pink eye and ringworm all on the identical time and extra not too long ago, has missed over a yr of motion after breaking her arm thrice.
And whereas VanZant describes the restoration course of from her third damaged arm as being “horrible,” the time she has been compelled to spend out of the game has solely solidified her love for it.
“I feel possibly it did take getting MMA taken away from me for me to appreciate how a lot I adore it,” he mentioned.
“It positively wasn’t a simple highway for me, so everybody who mentioned that I’ve had a simple path to victory, or it was too simple for me, I can genuinely say that I’ve had a tough journey to get the place I used to be. Lots of people would give up going by three damaged arms, three arm surgical procedures.”