Paige VanZant On The Wrath Of Ronda Rousey And Why She Won’t Be Fighting In UFC 200

Paige VanZant recently confirmed to TMZ that Ronda Rousey had a few choice words for her last month at a promotional event for Reebok. According to VanZant, Rousey was quite unhappy that Paige had congratulated Holly Holm in a social media post following Holm’s victory over the previously undefeated Ronda.

Paige’s statement on the matter was brief, only acknowledging that the incident happened. In fact, it wasn’t VanZant who initially spilled the beans about the verbal altercation between herself and Rousey in the first place. Ronda’s nemesis Miesha Tate actually revealed Paige’s story during a podcast with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

According to Yahoo, Tate stated that VanZant approached her at a UFC VIP party to express her shock over the incident. Paige had hoped during a mutual shoot for Reebok that she would be able to snag a photo with Ronda, a fighter VanZant is said to have admired. While reps at Reebok indicated to Paige that she may want to avoid Rousey, Ronda apparently took it upon herself to confront the 22-year-old VanZant for “crossing her” by tweeting out congratulations to Holly Holm. Though Paige confirmed the incident with Ronda happened, Rousey has yet to respond.

In all fairness to Paige VanZant, the young fighter has a tendency to congratulate other fighters on their victories quite often, including those who beat her. After Paige suffered a humiliating loss at the hands of Rose Namajunas, VanZant commended Rose on her technique and victory. According to SB Nation’s Bloody Elbow, VanZant acknowledged Namajunas’ superiority in the octagon and was humble regarding her defeat stating, “I got outclassed in every way.”

Paige VanZant struggles against Rose Namajunas, UFC Fight Night, December 2015. Image via Paige VanZant Official Instagram.
Paige VanZant struggles against Rose Namajunas, UFC Fight Night, December 2015. Image via Paige VanZant Official Instagram.

While VanZant is young and still working to improve her octagon skills, there’s another crowning achievement Paige is trying to obtain that will keep her from competing at UFC 200 as many had hoped. VanZant is currently one of the top contenders on Dancing with the Stars. This week, Paige and her dance partner Mark Ballas racked up one of the season’s first perfect scores.

Paige VanZant and 'Dancing with the Stars' partner Mark Ballas. Image via Paige VanZant Official Facebook.
Paige VanZant and 'Dancing with the Stars' partner Mark Ballas. Image via Paige VanZant Official Facebook.

According to Fox Sports, because VanZant and Ballas are expected to make it far into the competition, and filming continues through May, Paige didn’t feel she would have enough time to be prepared for a fight in July at UFC 200.

“I was like pushing for that and training as if I was fighting at UFC 200, and it just got overwhelming training for a fight camp and dancing at the same time. So I’m going to push it back a little bit and just make sure I keep my priorities in line,” VanZant told Fox Sports.

MMA fans shouldn’t worry that Paige will lose her fighting skills as she gains more dancing skills, however. VanZant also said that fellow fighter Urijah Faber has helped her get set up with a set of coaches in Los Angeles, so she can use any free time from Dancing with the Starsto continue training.

Paige’s goal is to return to the octagon by late summer, and while her fight with Rose Namajunas might have taken the wind out of the sails of VanZant, at least she doesn’t have to worry that she will face anything more than a verbal altercation from Ronda Rousey. VanZant fights in the straw weight division, a whole 20 pounds less than Rousey.

Considering Ronda Rousey’s adamant refusal to change weight class to fight Cris “Cyborg” Justino, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll be attempting to drop weight to seek revenge on Paige VanZant physically.

[Paige VanZant cover image via Alex Trautwig/Getty Images.]