The UFC fighter explains how mixed martial arts has contributed to her dealing with the pain of being sexually assaulted as a teenager and how she is using her celebrity status to aid other victims of bullying and abuse
‘I‘m certainly not a quitter ,” Paige VanZant says as the Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter explains why, in January, she refused to give up after she break-dance her arm during the first round but combated on for 10 hours before losing a decision to Jessica-Rose Clark in St Louis. Her firmnes that night, and in other bouts, has its roots in a dark history.
VanZant has also spoken of abiding years of bullying and a agonizing gang-rape as a 14 -year-old in Oregon. Yet she has been scoffed by hardcore mixed martial arts love for being hyped ahead of better fighters because she is attractive and opens up the viciou business of cage engaging to a different audience.
Before she addresses the assault that virtually destroyed her 10 years ago, VanZant recollects her grit against Clark.” I so wanted to finish the fight ,” she says, cheerfully.” I operated so difficult to get there I wasn’t going to let a broken forearm take me out .”
VanZant is at home in Oregon, wet-nurse her arm after a second operation last month. The first procedure failed to fuse the bone and, as VanZant says,” this surgery is known to have complications “.
” It wasn’t super rare that there have been issues with the broken bone. They’ve now done a bone grafting and put in a massive plateful. I’m hopeful it will now labor. In the fight I obviously knew my arm violated. I heard it break, I felt it end. The adrenaline didn’t take over and it hurt very bad. It was huge mentally to convince myself to keep going .”
Surely she considered retiring?” I clearly did. At one point she was arm-barring my ruined arm and she caught me in that triangle and I was trying to fight out of that with one side. I’m thinking:’ Am I constituting it worse ?’ That was my biggest fear. On top given the fact it hurt very bad. But I have too much pride to tap out .”