UFC women’s strawweight fighter Paige VanZant spoke to several media outlets on Tuesday and opened up publicly for the first time about being sexually assaulted by a group of boys at a party as a 14-year-old and has had suicidal thoughts since.
Dancing With the Stars competitor VanZant is out promoting her new book, “RISE: Surviving the Fight of My Life,” which include her appearance at ABC news networks “Good Morning America” where she went into some graphic details about her struggles with bullying and sexual assault before finding MMA sports. (Quote Via MMAJunkie)
“I really hope that if I can change one life, then me telling my story is worth it,”
VanZant holds 7-4 as a professional mixed martial artist. She joined the UFC back in 2014 and won her first three fights but has struggled since, dropping three of her past four matchups. She recently lost the bout against Jessica-Rose Clark via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 124 back in January.
Paige said she had a very painful and rough teenage life and she was a friendless high school freshman.
“I felt like I was a smart girl,” she told “GMA.” “My parents raised me well. They raised me to know better and to have some intuition, and it all went out the window just because I was so lonely, and I was in so much pain. All I could think about is like, ‘Wow, I have somebody that wants to be my friend.’
“When I walked in the door of their house, I was like, ‘This probably isn’t a good idea.”
Paige said she was unable to disclose to her parents what happened until recently, and she used to have suicidal thoughts.
Vanzant said the assault occurred at a party when she was only 14.
“They move me around,” she wrote. “They change my position. I fail each time I try to resist, my limbs like wet cement on my body, my brain a heavy fog. I am awake and conscious, but my body feels dead.
“I know what is happening but can do nothing to stop it. I have no voice or choice but to submit and pray that it ends soon.”
After that horrible incident, and the continual bullying that followed led her to deemed ending her own life.
“I didn’t see any other way out,” she told “GMA.” “When you’re in that position, when in you’re feeling that much pain, it’s not that you want to die. You just don’t want to be in pain any more.”
“MMA fighting definitely saved my life,” she said. “It saved who I was as a person, too.”
Paige took inspiration from many others who have stepped forward to share similar stories — particularly Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, to see how they carried themselves with strength while being open about being assaulted.