PAIGE VanZant’s fake boobs were putting her in “added danger” whenever she steps into the ring, a women’s wrestling expert has said.
And while the five-foot-four fighter's career could be uncertain, the expert claims others in the industry are also turning to surgery to boost their appeal.
Paige VanZant regularly posts sexy selfies showing off her curves to her 3.2 million Instagram followers.
While the 29-year-old shares videos of her fight-focused, grueling workouts, it’s her busty pics that seem to garner the most attention.
And they led fans to question whether she's gone under the knife – commenting "surgery" and "her boobs look bigger" on bikini snaps.
In May 2018, VanZant confirmed to TMZ she’d had a breast augmentation, saying: "I'm a girl and always wanted my own boobs.
"They never came so I bought them."
In an exclusive interview, Women's Pro-Wrestling Network owner Brian Green told The U.S Sun: “Paige and some other fighters have had breast implant surgery.
“This is partly because they think they may have to get the right set of eyes on them.
“If you relate that to Paige, no one stands there and says, 'You need to get breast implants so we’ll take you seriously.'
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“But everything around the fighters tells them that if they do the surgery, they’ll be taken seriously.
“The industry looks at the whole package which means whether they're good fighters and how they look.
"Many fighters try to make themselves cosmetically appealing.
“With fighters, they probably view that the second they walk into the ring they’re in danger.
“Some have had ruptured breast implants and put themselves in added danger.
“But the second you walk through those ropes, you're in danger right there, implants or not.
“Paige pretty much shot to the number one position within two years of starting out.
“She was the perfect storm and wanted all eyes on her.
“If Paige wanted the eyes to continue to be on her, as well as her fights, this would have probably been behind her decision to do the surgery.
“A good chunk of her income comes off the back of her looks now anyway.”
The former Sports Illustrated model started fighting in 2009. By 2015, Paige looked to be one of MMA’s most promising fighters.
Her natural good looks and athletic shape also won her modeling gigs with the likes of Nike and Columbia Sportswear.
After transitioning from UFC, Paige signed a pro wrestling contract with All Elite Wrestling.
In September, the former Dancing With the Stars winner married MMA star and wrestling champ, Austin Vanderford, 33.
She also secured a reported multi-million dollar deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting, which covered three fights.
Until now, she has lost two against Britain Hart and Rachael Ostovich.
In February, Paige told the New York Post: “I highly anticipate fighting, probably in April," referring to an upcoming fight with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
“Paige is a good fighter, not a world beater necessarily, but she's still a very good fighter," says Brian, whose network supports women wrestlers.
“She has to be able to back up her name and she hasn’t done well in the last two bare-knuckle fights.
“For bare knuckle promotion, whether she wins or loses initially was, I'd think, not as big of an issue as just having her there.
“I don't think that BKFC is the last thing that she could do anyway, as she has wide appeal.
“She has presented a package that’s very digestible to the casual viewer.
“There are a lot of fans out there who simply won’t entertain women's sports unless the woman looks good.
“I wish I could say it another way, but that fan base exists.
“Paige appeals to both ends of that spectrum and can lure people in.
“This would not just be fight fans who know the ropes, but those who only want to see her because she's an attractive young lady.
“If she stops winning these fights, the outlook wouldn't be very good.
"At least not for her in the fighting world, but she probably could find something else.
“If the numbers start to drop because Paige is in the main event, you know she's going to lose out.
“If that starts to come into play then I can understand where they’d say any contract needs re-evaluating.”
Over time, regardless of her professional fighting plans, Paige has built up a huge fan base.
Since launching her OnlyFans page in 2021, she's earned a massive one million likes.
“If she were to go on OnlyFans and start doing a low-grade version of porn, that might affect her," adds Brian.
“She’s otherwise selling naked pictures and probably shows some version of topless – or even bottomless pictures – at some point.
“As far as finances are concerned, I'd guess she would be doing pretty well.
“The lifespan of a pro athlete is short as it is.
“Most of them start in their late teens or early twenties, and if they're good, they can squeeze out about 20 years until their 40s.
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“By the time she's coming to her mid-30s, she's probably thinking, okay, where am I going here?
“I'm guessing if Paige does continue with fighting and when she gets back in the ring, then she’d have ten more years left.”
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