Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov caused a stir recently when he claimed that ring girls in combat sports were “useless”. Those comments were met by rebuttals from UFC Octagon Girls Brittany Palmer and Arianny Celeste.
And now a reigning UFC champion has come to the defense of Palmer et al. UFC flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko hit back at Nurmagomedov’s comments and argued that ring girls are a foundational aspect of combat sports and the UFC.
She shared those opinions with James Lynch/FanaticsView.
“They were since the beginning of the UFC, they were since the beginning of everything,” said Shevchenko (ht MiddleEasy). “And to say they don’t belong to martial arts, it’s so bad. It’s so not right because they are part. And it’s kind of like, without all of this, any fighter would not be in the position of where he is right now. If there wouldn’t be ring girls, there wouldn’t be lights, fans, sounds. It’s just boring, it’s just boring to see.
“But all these little details, they fulfill the full picture. That’s why there is no discussion — ring girls are part of the biggest promotions, smallest promotions of anything.”
Shevchenko is currently preparing for her sixth UFC flyweight title defence. That fight, against Lauren Murphy, is scheduled to go down at UFC 266 on September 25.
Since claiming the vacant title with a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Shevchenko has beaten Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia and Jessica Andrade.
The Kyrgyz fighter is 10-2 since joining the UFC in 2015. Her only losses are close decisions to women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes.