Paige Vanzant took to social media to clarify why her coach Urijah Faber said he hadn’t seen her at the Team Alpha Male gym this summer. It turns out she has a spine injury… What?

Her statement via Facebook:

“WHERE IS PAIGE VANZANT?
Dear fans I know quite a few of you are wondering why I am not in my training camp.
I left Sacramento to come back to my home state and have been in intense physical therapy from a spine injury. I do not have insurance coverage in California and I have not been giving the okay to train at this time. I am working hard to get better. Prayers up for a good recovery. Thank you so much for all your kind words it is such a blessing to have such an amazing team behind me.”

How bizarre is that?

Remember, Urijah Faber was asked on The MMA Hour about how happy he was to see that one of his students was going to be in the UFC. Everyone was surprised by his response. He said hadn’t seen her. He didn’t throw her under the bus, he just casually mentioned she hadn’t been around and that he would like to know how she’s been.

Full Quote:

“You know what, Paige has left. She hasn’t been around at all. I guess she, I don’t know, I asked what was going on. She was renting a room in Sacramento, and the person who she was renting from got evicted and took all her money, and I don’t know, she hasn’t been around. I told her, let me know if there’s any way I can help. I think she’s out in Reno training with her jiu-jitsu people or something. I don’t know where she is, man, for like the last month and a half or so, so I haven’t seen her…”

“I just texted her yesterday to ask her how training is going. I haven’t heard back from her, so I don’t know, man. She’s 20 years old, she’s young. She’s a very good athlete, she’s still developing as a fighter, she believes in herself, she’s a great looking girl. I think she’s got a lot of potential. I mean, I would feel most comfortable if she was on the team. If she’s going to represent the team, she needs to be in the gym. And so as of right now, she’s not going to be able to represent the team when she fights.”

We don’t know the extent of Vanzant’s spine injury, but… it’s a spine injury. That sounds awful. Surely her fight on October 4th with Kailin Curran isn’t happening anymore. Curran has even already wished Vanzant a “(emoji praying hands) speedy recovery!”

Vanzant’s statement still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Why would she be unable to tell her coach that she was injured and seeking medical treatment back home? Also, why was the fight signed in the first place?

This bout was announced Aug. 6 according to ufc.com, yet Faber said last week that he hadn’t seen Vanzant in “a month and a half.” That’s a weird timeline. Also, it’s important to note that Vanzant’s social media shows that she’s currently working by dressing up in costumes and modeling. That’s a unique way to prepare for biggest fight of her young career.

I almost believe that this fight was never going to happen in the first place.  Two 3-1, 3-0 prospects, which they are legitimately talented prospects at Strawweight, have received lots of attention from the media for what you could argue is because of this sort of fervent interest in sex appeal on the women’s side of the sport. In that regard, this fight has been easy to sell for the UFC because they’re both good at Instagram.(Curran, Vanzant) The timeline still just makes zero sense. A fighter with a spine injury that isn’t training and hasn’t talked to her coach in awhile wouldn’t then be scheduled for her UFC debut. Regardless of any of that, it’s maybe more unfortunate that the bout is (most likely) off because this was good matchmaking and probably the best fight that could be made for either fighter right now.

(Image from their Instagrams)