Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship president Dave Feldman has said he ‘would love’ former UFC pin-up Paige VanZant to continue with the organization ahead of a sit-down with the fighter and her team to discuss their future.
Leaving the UFC last year after four defeats in her previous six octagon outings, the 27-year-old signed a four-bout deal with BKFC reportedly worth over $1 million.
Losing to Britain Hart via unanimous decision on her debut at Knucklemania, VanZant then dropped another L in the same manner to a foe she had previously beaten in the UFC, Rachael Ostovich, and has shown an interest in returning to MMA via a promotion such as Bellator.
With two fights left to run in her agreement with BKFC, however, Feldman is keen to see her stay put and will fly out to Florida to touch base with VanZant and her team to see how they plan to move forward.
“We spoke to her management team and honestly it’s up in the air,” Feldman said, according to MMA Fighting.
“We’re not 100% sure she’ll be back with BKFC. It looks like she will but at the end of the day, if her heart and her passion is [that] she wants to give MMA another shot, we may give her that opportunity.
“I’m not here to hold anybody back,” Feldman claimed.
“We’d love to have her back,” Feldman confirmed, though.
“But at the end of the day, if her heart’s not in it – and I’m not saying that it’s not – but if her heart’s not in it, and she wants to try something else, who are we to stop her from advancing her career or trying something else new with her career?
“‘Cause we thought we could give her a great opportunity and we did and she’s been great to work with. We’ll know a lot more after this week. I’d love to put her on the KnuckleMania card again as well. So we’ll see what happens with that this week,” he concluded on that specific topic.
BKFC is currently planning a second KnuckleMania show for February 11 next year, but Feldman can see the appeal of a return to MMA and specifically Bellator, where VanZant’s husband Austin Vanderford plies his trade.
“She started in MMA,” Feldman pointed out.
“Her husband fights for Bellator. If she wants to go fight with her husband … like I said, we’ll see what happens. I know that she definitely wants to go back to MMA. She always did.”
“Even when she came over to bare-knuckle, I knew that was going to come up, and with her not able to taste victory yet in BKFC, maybe she wants to go over there.
“Like I said, we’re going to know a lot more in the next two days. Hopefully she comes back, and if not, we’ll wish her the best,” Feldman finished.
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