UFC star Paige VanZant recently revealed one of her darkest secrets: she was sexually assault when she was just 14 years old.
During an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday (April 10), the 24-year-old MMA fighter opened up about the assault, which she says happened at a party, and the suicidal thoughts she’s had since.
“My parents raised me well. They raised me to know better and to have some intuition. It all went out the window just because I was so lonely,” VanZant explains, as she discussed the assault. “I was in so much pain, I just … all I could think about was, ‘Wow, I have somebody who wants to be my friend.’ When I walked in the door of their house, I was like, ‘This probably isn’t such a good idea.'”
“I didn’t see any other way out,” she continued, revealing that she contemplated suicide. “When you’re in that position, when you’re feeling that much pain, it’s not that you want to die. You just don’t want to be in pain anymore.”
VanZant, who details her struggles in her new memoir RISE: Surviving the Fight of My Life, also said she was constantly bullied in high school to the point where she ate lunch alone in the bathroom.
“I didn’t have anywhere to run to. I didn’t have anybody to turn to,” said VanZant, who grew up in Dayton, Oregon. “[It was] bad enough that I had to run into the bathroom, and I’d eat my lunch on the toilet … because I just felt too scared to eat lunch in the cafeteria.”
VanZant’s new book is available now on Amazon.com.
She’s 7-4 as a professional mixed martial artist. She’s currently on a two-fight losing streak, after losing via decision to Jessica-Rose Clark in January, during which she suffered a broken arm.