UFC star Paige VanZant has been one of the more popular - or polarizing - fighters in mixed martial arts when it comes to the fans. Some have criticized her because she’s had the UFC behind her during her fast track to stardom.
On April 30, VanZant posted a video on her social media promoting the company’s new “Black and White collection.” She deleted the video but later posted a picture. VanZant is one of the few MMA fighters to receive a Reebok contract outside of the company’s uniform deal with the UFC.
Not surprisingly, several fighters criticized VanZant’s ad or mocked it - assuming they watched it. Champions has decided not to post those tweets here, so if you'd like to see them, you'll need to follow the link.
Maybe this was a case of something that sounds good on paper but didn’t translate to the execution. There's no need to criticize VanZant or the video. In advertising, you take risks and experiment to see what works and what doesn't. You can't do the same thing over and over because it gets boring.
However, it should be noted that a couple fighters have come out in support of VanZant, one being former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
On May 4, Weidman posted a video on his Twitter with his own take on VanZant's ad.
During a UFC 211 media lunch, UFC women's strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk was asked about the video. Jedrzejczyk is also sponsored by Reebok.
Although she hasn't seen the ad, the UFC strawweight champion has heard about the video and the backlash resulting from it - yet she had nothing but kind words to say about VanZant.
“I like Paige VanZant. I think she’s young, talented, very good-looking girl and she became one of the most popular female fighters in the UFC, in the world.”
Seeing Jedrzejczyk and Weidman support VanZant gives us all another reason to love them. I'm sure there are others - perhaps hundreds - of fans and UFC fighters who are backing VanZant during this time, and to you, we give props.
It's unfortunate, because when it comes to the Internet, it's the negative voices that are the loudest.
If we - UFC fighters and fans alike - all did something to brighten someone's day instead of tearing each other down, the world would be an infinitely better place.