Being a professional fighter isn’t always as lucrative as it appears, which is why BKFC breakout star Taylor Starling has joined fighters such as Paige VanZant and Bec Rawlings in creating an exclusive fan site.
Starling is set to challenge Christine Ferea for the BKFC flyweight title this Saturday at BKFC 28 in Albuquerque. “Killa Bee” has had to deal with critics in regards to how she has supplemented her fighting career with her fan site, which has helped her focus on fighting full-time, as opposed to having to work multiple jobs outside of the gym.
“I always say to people, if you don’t pay my bills, and you don’t put food in my kids’ mouths, your opinion [doesn’t mean] s*** to me,” Starling told MMA Fighting. “I hate it, and if people don’t want to do it, or you think that it’s wrong so you wouldn’t do that, I understand. But at the same time, to do that to follow your dreams, follow your career and make s*** happen, to sit and say that you wouldn’t do something so simple as having a fan site, or an OnlyFans, [this is for me] to be able to do what [I] genuinely want to do.
“Before my fan site, I was working a full-time job, and I had two part-time jobs where I would have to work on the weekends, and then somehow manage to find time to train in-between that. The fan site was not something I was super eager to do, but I knew I wanted to become a better fighter, be able to fully train, and give my all to fighting, so I thought, ‘Oh, man, I’m going to do it.’ And thankfully I took that leap of faith.”
While sites like OnlyFans and FanTime provide content that can seem a bit risqué at times, and Starling’s does as well, she believes it also gives the fans that enjoy and follow her fighting career the chance to converse with her on a more personal level.
To her, that’s the most important aspect of the site.
“People think that having a fan site is just selling naked pictures and stuff like that, but you can go on there and have a more personal conversation with your fans,” Starling said. “It doesn’t always have to revolve around sexuality. There’s people who go on there that just enjoy my fight career that just want to say hey, and get a response back because Instagram and Facebook filters a lot.
“Some people just want to have a conversation and say, ‘Hey Taylor,’ or Paige VanZant, and this is for me to be able to fully give myself to fighting. There are times I lie awake at night and I’m like, ‘This isn’t what I’d really like to be making my money doing,’ but unfortunately, people have this idea that once you’re a professional fighter that you’re some rich millionaire, and that’s just not the way that it goes. You have to build up to that. You have to earn it and work hard, but you can’t do that unless you’re giving yourself up to it fully.
“It used to bother me way more a year ago when I started it and people would come after me about it, but now, everybody’s naked at the end of the day, everybody’s got their own demons,” Starling continued. “I’m able to train full-time, my kids are fed, my bills are paid, and I still get to continue to do what I love. Why would I give a s*** what anyone has to say about that?”
Starling has won all three of her BKFC appearances to set up the title clash with Ferea, who captured the inaugural title with a unanimous decision win over Britain Hart at KnuckleMania 2 in February.
Should Starling knock off Ferea, win the title, and begin to make bigger paydays competing for the promotion, she says she would continue on with the fan site — more so to continue that relationship with fight fans that have supported her journey.
“Of course there’s a part of me that would want to give it up, but like I said, aside from the sexy content and stuff like that, you get to really connect with people that are just fans and just want to support [you],” Starling explained. “I would maybe dial it back some … and having a fan site really is like having a full-time job. You have to constantly be on there responding to people, talking to people, doing different content every day.
“But I would keep it because there are people on there who want to support me, want to talk to me, and want to be on there, and that’s really cool. I’ve already gone this far, why would I take it away?”