UFC ring girls debate: Khabib Nurmagomedov criticism, Valentina Shevchenko responds
Khabib Nurmagomedov has doubled down on his attack on ring girls after a female fighter tried to put the UFC legend in his place.
Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has continued his attack on ring girls, saying there is “no reason” for them.
In August the 33-year-old described UFC ring girls as “the most useless people in martial arts”.
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It led to his bitter rival Conor McGregor poking fun at Nurmagomedov on Twitter, as well as famous ring girl Arianny Celeste blasting his comments.
But Nurmagomedov is refusing to change his opinion and isn’t going to apologise for his views.
Speaking to RT Today, the MMA legend said: “Everybody has their own views on something.
“For example, a couple of months ago someone spoke about my own promotion, Eagle Fighting Championship (EFC), and asked why there are no ring girls there.
“I said it is because, in my opinion, there is no reason (for them).
“Some people don’t agree with this, but who cares? I don’t care because I have my opinion.”
For decades, women have walked around boxing rings and MMA cages between rounds to inform those in attendance of the upcoming stanza. However, the practice has come under scrutiny in recent years, with some labelling it archaic and outdated.
Nurmagomedov’s stance doesn’t sit well with fighter Valentina Shevchenko, who posed for photos with ring girls after her win over Lauren Murphy at UFC 266 last month, then blasted the Dagestani.
“Beautiful women is a decoration of any event,” she said. “I want people to know that, and no one has the right to say they are useless, because they are in the place where they have to be.”
Reinforcing her message, Shevchenko captioned an Instagram post with the ring girls: “Beauty will save the world.”
Some of the UFC’s most well-known ring girls returned fire in the wake of Nurmagomedov’s criticism. Celeste, who has been with the promotion since 2006, weighed into the debate with a lengthy message to her 3.3 million Instagram followers in September.
“For 15 years we have been more than just ring girls — we have dedicated time in promoting UFC and showing love and time to our diehard fans through touring the world and personal appearances,” Celeste wrote.
“And while the world is very different right now, I can still feel that energy and love every time we have a show with an audience.
“It’s taken me 15 years of hard work, dedication, and time to be: A bad a** independently wealthy female; A real estate investor and owner of not just 1 but 3 homes/properties … and a female who is not afraid to take risks and build for my future.
“You can call us useless, but to people like me who have worked this hard, it slips right off my shoulders. My life is too good to be unhappy.
“You don’t have to like me, but you will respect me.”
Luciana Andrade was another who stood up for her role in the UFC, saying ring girls provide so much more to MMA than some people realise.
“People spend way too much time and energy arguing over others’ lives and choices. UFC is both sport and entertainment, and brand ambassadors (aka ring girls) serve not just to ‘inform rounds’ but to represent the brand when and where needed,” Andrade wrote on social media.
“I’ve been proudly/happily working as an OG (Octagon girl) for almost 8 years now and can only thank UFC for all the doors that keep being open to me. I also LOVE to keep proving haters wrong — yes, it’s possible to be a model while also studying, working and investing in other areas.
“I had people calling me stupid (remember the ‘do nothing b****es’ era? Women supporting women didn’t always exist in this industry) while I was literally using this opportunity and income to pursue a Masters in Law, learn other languages, improve myself. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
“If one thing, all this exposure, free hate and lots of judgment made us all ‘grow’ thicker skin – it’s 2021 and I refuse to let people *try to* control my life, personal decisions and/or tell me what I should do for a living.”
With John Hutchison, The Sun