Yesterday three-division champion Claressa Shields switched lanes to join the world of MMA as a participant in the Professional Fighters League and now the 25-year-old star says she feels slighted by her treatment in boxing.
On Tuesday, Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) signed a three-year contract with the MMA outfit as she embarks on a new journey balancing careers in two disciplines.
Yet the self-styled ‘GWOAT’ believes she has been under-appreciated and underpaid by the fight game despite her numerous achievements since turning pro after a second Olympic gold at the Rio 2016 Olympiad.
“Boxing is so sexist,” Shields told TMZ Sports. “These men are fighting for multiple millions that haven’t accomplished half of what I accomplished but I’m supposed to just be happy? Like yeah, go ahead and pay me $300k and then offer me $150k for the next fight?”
Shields feels the MMA world has embraced her warmly and understood her move is not a novelty act or one-fight cash cow like Floyd Mayweather’s clash with UFC megastar Conor McGregor in 2017.
“I’m happy that they understood that this is not a … ‘Oh, I’m just coming over here like a McGregor vs Mayweather type of deal,” added Shields.
“This is a three-year deal we have together. It’s very lucrative. 160 different countries that they’ll be showing my fights. I’ll be able to grow my brand and just continue to be a bigger role model.
“[I’m] just trying to get stronger and fast to be more explosive [in MMA] and really just treat my body like a temple so we can get ready to go through all these different changes we’re about to go through having to be an MMA fighter.”
Main image: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime.