Fans could be forgiven for assuming that Jalin Turner’s ‘Tarantula’ nickname had everything to do with his wiry, spider-like frame and not some more literal interpretation. It turns out, however, that the UFC lightweight came by his moniker through more interesting means—namely, a massive collection of spiders.
During Turner’s most recent fight, a victory at UFC 266 over Uros Medic, the broadcast booth casually mentioned that Turner had had to sell part of his tarantula collection to help pay bills over the last year that he’s been sidelined due to injury. After the event, the Adrenaline Combat Sports athlete sat down with the press to go into a bit more detail about his decision.
“She’s doing good, she’s doing good, man,” Turner responded to a reporter’s question about his pet Tarantula ‘Melanie’. “Nice and healthy.”
“Actually, I had to cut down,” Turner added, when asked about how many spiders he had. “And I sold a lot. Because, you know, I ain’t fought in a year. So, I had to make ends meet. And, I sold over 20 tarantulas, so I only have four right now.”
Speaking to ESPN back in 2019, Turner revealed how he turned his childhood fear of spiders into a fascination with collecting them. At one point, even amassing as many as 200 of the hairy, eight-legged arachnids.
“You just get addicted to collecting them,” said Turner told the outlet. “I was breeding them at the time, so I had a bunch of them. It got crazy. It’s a whole underground world. I was developing a fear and dislike for spiders, so I casually got one as a pet to get over that. It just intrigued me so much. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Turner is currently on a three-fight win streak after starting his UFC career with a KO loss to current top welterweight contender Vicente Luque. Hopefully fans will see him back in the Octagon again soon, and he won’t have to part with any more of his beloved pets.