In an ESPN SportsCenter interview on Thursday, UFC strawweight Paige VanZant alluded to the fact that she would not be appearing at WWE's SummerSlam event on August 21. She did, however, express an interest in working with the company in the future.
VanZant's manager, Mike Roberts, confirmed earlier this month that WWE reached out to the fighter about an appearance at the summer event. As the news came shortly after Brock Lesnar was announced as fighting at UFC 200, many assumed that the wrestling promotion was looking for a favor in return.
VanZant's passing on the opportunity is due to her desire to focus on her fighting career. On August 27 - less than a week after SummerSlam - the 22-year-old will be fighting Bec Rawlings in Vancouver. She'll also be pulling out of the upcoming Kickboxer 2: Retaliation so as to keep her training uninterrupted.
The Rawlings fight will be VanZant's first UFC contest since last December, when she suffered a decisive loss to Rose Namajunas. In March, VanZant was announced as competing on season 22 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. She and partner Mark Ballas finished in second place, making her a household name and leading many to speculate that she would leave fighting for a career in Hollywood.
Scott Fried is a Slammy Award-winning* writer living and working in New York City. He has been following/writing about professional wrestling for many years and is a graduate of Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scottfried.
*Best Crowd of the Year, 2013