Ultimate Fighting Championship star Paige VanZant wants equal pay.
The mixed martial artist said she makes more money through sponsored social media posts than she does in competitions.
“With endorsements, I make way more money sitting at home posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting,” she said in an appearance on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.”
“If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and just fight, I would be at a loss. By a long shot.”
VanZant broke her arm in a February fight that sidelined her for the rest of the year. But with TV commentary jobs and Instagram sponsorships, that hardly affected her earnings. VanZant has more than 2 million Instagram followers.
“If I’m gonna keep breaking my arm, if I’m gonna keep bleeding and sacrificing for this sport, I think that all fighters and all female fighters need to be recognized,” she said.
Now, she wants UFC officials to up female fighters’ salaries across the board.
“All of us should be paid more in general, especially women and especially based on your star power.”
UFC stars like Ronda Rousey have headlined fights and earned millions. But even stars like VanZant and other female fighters earn significantly less than many male competitors, even if they win their matches.
At the UFC 241 event earlier this month, the highest-paid man, Stipe Miocic, earned a flat fee of $750,000. The highest-paid woman, Hannah Cifers earned $28,000–half of which was a bonus she received for winning the fight, according to Forbes.
When asked by reporters about VanZant’s comments, UFC president Dana White said it’s “awesome” Vanzant made more on social media than in the octagon.
“Good for her,” he said Tuesday. “If a fighter can make more money doing other things, that’s awesome.”