“With endorsements, I make way more money sitting at home posting pictures on Instagram than I do fighting,” VanZant said. “If I were to stop everything I do outside of fighting and just fight, I would be at a loss financially. By a long shot.”
Since joining the UFC in 2014, VanZant has earned an estimated US$475,000 from fighting, including win bonuses and sponsorships, which averages out to roughly US$80,000 a year. Van Zant supplements that income with sponsored posts for brands like CBD company Sun Valley Science on her Instagram feed, which has more than 2.2 million followers.
VanZant has been sidelined with an arm injury since February, and during that time she has been vocal about the pay disparity between male and female fighters in the UFC. As CNN reported last week, the league's highest-paid fighter, Stipen Miocic, earned US$750,000 for a single fight in August. In fact, eight of the male fighters in UFC 241 took home six-figure payouts. Meanwhile, the highest-paid woman, Hannah Cifers, earned just US$28,000—part of which was a bonus for winning the fight, Forbes reported.
When asked to comment on VanZant's criticism in a recent press conference, UFC president Dana White responded with praise for VanZant's success on Instagram. "Good for her, that's awesome," he said. "If a fighter can make more money doing other things, good for her.
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