Khabib Nurmagomedov remains in the hot seat after recently labeling ring card girls as “the most useless people in martial arts.”
The former UFC lightweight champion, who recently bought Russian MMA promotion Gorilla Fighting Championship and renamed it Eagle FC, also added that he has no intention to introduce ring girls in his organization.
“I realize that is a history (behind ring card girls). History knows many mistakes,” Nurmagomedov said during a press conference in Moscow last week. “We read 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. Dana White maybe likes it. Maybe you do, too. But my name is not Dana. My name is Khabib.”
The retired fighter’s comments drew responses from several UFC ring girls, including Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer and Luciana Andrade, the latter of whom explained that she used her job as a ring girl to “pursue a Masters in Law, learn other languages, improve myself.”
Meanwhile, Russian boxer Angelina Semenova accused Nurmagomedov of sexism and an “old-fashioned mindset and vision” following his comments.
“The 21st century has already arrived,” Semoenova told Russian outlet MetaRatings. “Women have the same rights as men. MMA is a sports show, wheile ring girls are, of course, traditional, like the cherry on the cake. It’s time for Khabib to leave the sexism he was accustomed to in the Dagestani mountains, if he’s going to live in a society where everything’s been different for a long time. Or let him dictate his rules exactly where he’s from. Although development will sooner or later find that corner.”
This is not the first time that ring girls have been criticized. Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey referred to the Octagon girls as “pretty but talentless” during a 2012 interview with Sherdog.
“There’s a reason why the ring girls aren’t asked to star in movies,” Rousey said at the time.