If you have ever rolled your eyes at some of Paige VanZant’s social media offerings, you are not alone. UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes had some strong words for VanZant and for other fighters who seem keen on sexualizing themselves.
He wrote a number of social media posts, culminating in a Facebook post lamenting female athletes who “complain and gripe about being overly sexualized” by fans and media while also profiting from said sexualization, adding that he does not have any problem with their career choices but that they “can’t … expect to garner the same type of respect and love that real grinders get.”
This post included screenshots of a number of other posts, including that of a back-and-forth between Blaydes and Invicta FC flyweight Pearl Gonzalez. Gonzalez, along with VanZant and Rachael Ostovich, were the fighters Blaydes called out by name as athletes who have made a name for themselves for their looks rather than for their fighting ability.
Blaydes said of VanZant and Ostovich: “I apologize but if you’re a legit fan of MMA you couldn’t possibly believe [they] are on the roster for anything other than the fact the look good in bikinis.” When asked about Gonzalez, Blaydes attributed her relevance to her “constantly posting bikini training pics,” and opined that she has not improved as a fighter in five years, adding that “too many females in the athletic industry are getting by on being sexy not actually being good at their craft.”
Gonzalez clapped back at Blaydes on Twitter: “A fighter complaining how my looks keep me relevant and that my skills haven’t improved. The fact you are today years old and still can’t speak a full sentence blows my mind,” which Blaydes took to be in reference to his speech impediment.
Gonzalez denies this, insisting she “was talking about the stupid topics he chooses to speak on,” adding that “I used to shout this man out for being from the same city as me. I used to be a fan,” this in reference to Gonzalez and Blaydes both hailing from Chicago. The argument concluded with Gonzalez declaring: “You didn’t just shame me… you shamed all women,” a post which was later removed.