Retired former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedv seems to be raising eyebrows with some of his comments. Recently, he drew some flak for what many perceived to be disparaging comments towards former longtime featherweight champion and future Hall-of-Famer Jose Aldo.
Now, “The Eagle” is dropping more controversial statements, this time, about the presence of ring girls. In a recent press conference, he questioned this long-standing prizefighting tradition and the purpose it serves.
“Look, I don’t want to offend anyone. Ring girls are the most useless people in martial arts,” Khabib said in a recent Eagle Fighting Championship press conference (translation and subtitles by Fighting Flashback).
“What is their function? You can show that it is the second round on the screen.
“Do they develop a sport? Or they help people to see that it is the second round now? What are they doing? Tell me, please.
“I realize that is a history. History knows many mistakes. We read a history to avoid mistakes of the past in the future. If we look in the history, it says they are useless. That is my personal opinion.”
Khabib shared a moment while watching a live fight with his father, and how the presence of ring girls made him “uncomfortable.” For that, he wants such “show elements” separated from combat sports.
“These (women) are passing by and showing people that it is the second round. But no one looks at the (card they're carrying). I feel uncomfortable with my father,” he recalled.
“I am not against it. But if you want to do it, don’t impose it to me, do it aside. There are designated places for it.
“I think we must not mix all of it. This is my private opinion. We develop sport there, first of all. There should be some show elements, for sure. People want to come and watch, it is interesting for them. (But) I think to mix it is incorrect.”
Khabib’s stance could be rooted in his conservative upbringing. As AKA teammate Cynthia Calvillo once told The Score, Nurmagomedov also refuses to train with female fighters, an ideology shared by Firas Zahabi.
The 32-year-old Khabib now wears a fight promoter’s hat and runs his very own Eagle Fighting Championship. And if you’re expecting to see ring girls in his upcoming event on September 17, you probably shouldn’t count on it.
“There are people that come to look at these (women), so you shouldn’t do it on 17th of September. You shouldn’t go there,” he said.
“If you want to see the fights of the best world athletes, you have such a place on September 17th. It is CSKA Arena. The same way, there are places in Moscow where you can come, pay money and watch everything. Am I right?”