Claressa Shields seems to enjoy the kind of satisfaction in the world of mixed martial arts that she otherwise could not find in boxing.
The 26-year-old three-division world champion from Flint, Michigan is scheduled to make his second appearance in the Professional Fighters League, an MMA organization with a playoff format, on October 27 against Abigail Montes. Shields turned to MMA earlier this summer — a TKO from Brittany Elkin coming from behind from the third round — out of frustration at the way she was treated by the boxing world. Her biggest complaints have been about recognition and pay.
Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) recently described how she admired the tournament format of the PFL, while doubling her critique of the pay structure and inequalities in boxing.
“I think [the PFL tournament format is] super fair, and it gives you more to look forward to, “Shields told the Bleacher Report. I feel like the more boxing championships I won, the more undefeated fighters I beat, the more divisions I conquered, everyone would see my work and think ‘duh, we should pay her more than a million. We were going to pay her two million, three million, four million, five. ‘It never happened.
“I’m super happy that PFL gives me that kind of opportunity, and it’s about hard work. It’s just about how much hard work you put in.”
Asked to elaborate on the inequalities of the boxing business, Shields pointed the finger at sexism.
“I think it’s sexism,” Shields said. “All that is needed is those responsible for giving women boxers the opportunity. I feel I get a lot of respect and the girls at the top get a lot of respect, but there are girls who are overlooked – girls with great records and a mass knockouts, they are overlooked because they are women.
“Even with me, I feel that I deserve more in terms of how I get paid, how I get promoted, how the story is told. This is something boxing needs to work on. I always tell all the female warriors to build their social media [followings], build their platform and just be in charge of their brands. ”
“If I can do that, I can also control my destiny in boxing.”
Despite the fact that certain aspects of boxing were put in place, Shields recently signed an agreement with the British television station Sky Sports to be shown on their boxing card. Shields is expected to maintain both his MMA and boxing career at the same time. According to her American promoter Dmitry Salita, Shields is expected to make her Sky debut later this year.