UFC boss Dana White has labelled the potential ban on ring girls at combat sports events in Melbourne as ‘ridiculous’, setting the stage for something of a showdown with the city’s council.
Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said the tradition was ‘outdated and backwards’ and suggested it was time for combat sports like mixed martial arts and boxing to ‘move on’ from the practice.
The debate comes after promoters replaced ring girls with a man for Jeff Horn’s bout with Michael Zerafa at the Battle of Bendigo earlier this year, after similar comments from the regional town’s councillors.
'GONE TOO SOON': MMA rocked by tragic death of 32-year-old fighter
“It's 2019, do we really still need scantily clad women to wander around the middle of a fighting ring between rounds?” Capp told the Herald Sun.
“Grid girls are no longer part of Formula One, walk-on girls are no longer part of professional darts - surely it's time to move on.”
White though, vehemently hit back at the Lord Mayor’s suggestion.
The UFC figurehead said Capp had ‘no education’ on what ring girls offered for the organisation, arguing that they were treated better in his organisation than anywhere else.
“Our Octagon girls, they’re as much a part of the UFC brand as anyone, they’re ambassadors for our sport,” White said.
“So for someone who has absolutely no education whatsoever about who these girls are – about what they do, what they mean to the UFC – to start going off, it’s ridiculous.
“You can look at any sport you like, nobody treats women better than we do.
“And I’d suggest these people calling on them to be banned go have a look at what these girls do with the company, the type of money they’re making.
“Do that and you’ll realise these girls are as important to our brand as anyone else in the company. And that’s exactly the way we treat them.”