Despite winning eight of her last 12 professional fights in MMA, UFC star Paige VanZant has discovered that she can earn more money from her popular Instagram account, than stepping into the octagon.
VanZant has now hit out at organizers of the sport for its the lack of equal pay between their male and female fighters, The Sun reports.
The 25-year-old American recently spoke out about the gender pay gap within her sport in a revealing interview on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. VanZant said:
"I make way more money sitting at home, posting pictures on Instagram, than I do fighting. When I did my contract negotiation the last time, the talk was, 'I can’t pay you more than a female champion.’
"Okay, but why are comparing me to just women? All of us should be getting paid more in general."
VanZant was also quick to point out that she has main evented twice in the UFC, and currently holds a 5-3 win-loss record with the organization.Paige certainly knows how to keep her Instagram followers engaged:
"I want a significant pay raise, to be completely honest. I’ve just been extremely accomplished outside of the UFC, as well as inside of the UFC.
"Five wins in the UFC, four finishes, I’ve been main event twice, and I think someone with those accolades should be paid more."
VanZant is currently out-of-action after breaking her arm earlier this year - it is the third time she has broken her arm.
While recovering from her injury, she has launched a YouTube channel with her fiance, MMA fighter Austin Vanderford, called A Kickass Love Story: With Paige & Austin, which currently has over 19,000 subscribers.Paige shares a BTS video from the SI Swimsuit photoshoot in a tiny bikini:
The brawler Oregon-born star also shares several sultry pictures with her 2.3 million Instagram followers. These include a selection of snaps from her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photoshoot, and the time she sunbathed in her underwear after forgetting bikinis.
In fact, Paige is so fed up with the issues surrounding pay, that she has opted to run her contract down to become a free agent, in order to see what her true value is.
Following Paige's revelation, is it time the UFC started paying their female stars the same as their male stars?
It was an issue that was once put forward to former UFC champion-turned WWE Superstar, Ronda Rousey, who defended the gender pay gap in a 2015 conference:
"I think that how much you get paid should have something to do with how much you bring in. I’m the highest-paid fighter not because Dana and Lorenzo wanted to do something nice for the ladies. They do it because I bring in the highest numbers. Because I make them the most money. So I think the money that they make should be proportionate to the money they bring in."