Paige VanZant shoved Britain Hart by the throat as the weigh-in ahead of their bout at KnuckleMania ignited.
VanZant, one of the most popular UFC fighters ever, is making her bare knuckle boxing debut on Saturday after securing a contract she says will pay her 10 times more than she earned under Dana White.
Her arrival has been promoted as the most anticipated debut in BKFC history but Hart isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat.
After VanZant tipped the scales at 126 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in, Hart marched straight over for the face-off and got right up in the Instagram sensation’s grill.
VanZant was in the fighter’s stance and put her left hand around Hart’s throat and shoved her head backwards. Hart grabbed her left arm so VanZant shoved her again with her right before they were separated.
“This ain’t f***ing MMA you can’t shove,” Hart said. “Get the rules right before you come into the f***ing game. How about that. Get the rules right.”
VanZant will compete without gloves for the first time but can’t wait to test her mettle.
“I absolutely love my striking, it’s what I was known for in the UFC, so I’m excited to come in here and show how tough I am,” she said. “That’s one thing I’ve carried throughout my entire career, is no one can say I’m definitely not one tough chick, and I plan to show that.”
The 26-year-old said she would earn close to $1 million for the bout.
“I’m here for a reason,” VanZant said. “I was in the UFC for six years getting paid $40,000 (to show) and $40,000 (to win), and now I’m getting 10 times that doing what I love.”
But Hart, who has a record of 1-2, believes VanZant’s stay will be short-lived.
“I do expect her coming in with a mindset of a lot confidence, being tough and that she can do it,” she said.
“Then I also see her changing her mind really quickly like, ‘Oh sh*t, why did I do this?’ Which I think a lot of people had those moments in their life. Like oh man, what was I thinking? I think this is going to be her moment of what was she thinking? I do expect her to come in, I don’t think she’s scared or nervous right now, but once she gets in there, I could see her being that.” she said.
“Honestly my goal is to break her down and basically make her quit the fight. That would be my main goal. I definitely want to end it. I’ll feel it that night and I really feel like I’m prepared for it so no excuses.”
KnuckleMania will start around 12pm on Saturday (AEDT). You can purchase the pay-per-view stream from FiteTV here.