Exclusive Interview: Paige VanZant On Commentating For UFC FIGHT PASS' Kinektic, Her Next Fight & More

Our interview with the UFC favorite who is trying out submission grappling commentary.

paige vanzant UFC 191 Mixed Martial Arts
John Locher/AP

Last month, UFC FIGHT PASS -- the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports -- announced that it will exclusively stream the first-ever submission grappling event produced by Kinektic. A new team-formatted grappling promotion, Kinektic's debut event will air live from the Anaheim Business Expo Center on Friday, August 16, at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on UFC FIGHT PASS.

Co-founded by UFC Hall Of Famer Urijah Faber, Las Vegas entrepreneur Keith Veltre and award-winning combat sports announcer Sean Wheelock, Kinektic is a unique tournament-style promotion that will feature athletes from various combat sports disciplines, including mixed martial arts, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling.

All Kinektic events will feature four competing teams, each comprised of five world-class grapplers, in a tournament consisting of semifinals and a championship final. Additionally, all events will feature a grappling Super Fight, which will feature additional participants not already competing in the tournament. The captains of the four star-powered teams are UFC veteran Chael Sonnen, world-class grappler Craig Jones, UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith, and former UFC welterweight Chris Lytle.

UFC women’s flyweight Paige VanZant will be serving as the lead color commentator for Kinektic. We had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. VanZant on August 12, 2019 about her work with Kinektic and more. VanZant can be followed on Instagram via @PaigeVanZant, while more on Kinektic is online at https://www.ufc.tv/category/fightpass-live-events.

You have this big event coming up on Friday. How long has it been that you've known that you would be working with Kinektic?

Paige VanZant: Sean [Wheelock] is one of the founders and owners, and I worked with him on a [M-1 global] show. We promised to keep in touch because we loved the chemistry we had together, and he asked me a few months ago if I was interested. I jumped onboard right away and said yes. I couldn't wait for it.

Who were some of your influences as a commentator? Because the world thinks of you as this great, great fighter and a best-selling author and also a star of Dancing With The Stars, but they don't necessarily say, "Hey Paige, she's a commentator."

Paige VanZant: Yeah, I've only done the one show for M-1 global so far, and it's definitely something I'm still getting my feet into, and I know what's happening there in the competition but translating it and explaining it to the general audience is totally different. The amazing thing about a grappling show is we kind of know if you're watching it you are a fan of MMA, or a hardcore fan. You know what's going on, you know what goes into it and you know this submission grappling world. So I feel like we can be more in-depth and more detailed with the commentary, versus a lot of vocal MMA shows... You are going to get a great description of what's going on.

People who tune in, they get to hear me commentate, they are going to let me know how I'm doing. This is definitely something I've wanted to do for a long time and it's amazing I can do it back-to-back and side-by-side with my MMA career because they go hand in hand.

Interview continued on next page...


Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Darren is also the host of the "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio. He is also the author of two published books, including 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press).