The UFC's Octagon Girls have united on social media to hit back at the suggestion from former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov that their jobs are 'useless'.
In response to Nurmagomedov's comment that Octagon girls are 'the most useless people in martial arts', well known Octagon girl Arianny Celeste took to Instagram to clap back at the criticism.
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Nurmagomedov had primarily said that ring girls holding up signs indicating which round it was for the audience made him 'uncomfortable', pointing out that 'no one looks at the sign' when the girls show what round it is.
His late father also infamously stood in front of one of the octagon girls during the weigh-ins for UFC 249 back in 2019.
While Nurmagomedov pointed out that his opinion was his own and he would not pressure the UFC into any changes, Celeste took to Instagram to shed more light on the work octagon girls do.
“For 15 years we have been more than just ring girls — we have dedicated time in promoting UFC and showing love and time to our diehard fans through touring the world and personal appearances,” Celeste wrote.
“And while the world is very different right now, I can still feel that energy and love every time we have a show with an audience.
“It’s taken me 15 years of hard work, dedication, and time to be: A bad a** independently wealthy female; A real estate investor and owner of not just 1 but 3 homes/properties … and a female who is not afraid to take risks and build for my future.
“You can call us useless, but to people like me who have worked this hard, it slips right off my shoulders. My life is too good to be unhappy.
“You don’t have to like me, but you will respect me.”
Octagon girls hit back at UFC star's 'useless' gibe
Fellow ring girl Luciana Andrade, who was the one memorably obscured by Khabib's father at UFC 249, said their jobs went much further than simply parading around the ring.
She also argued the work they were doing allowed many of the girls to pursue further interests.
“People spend way too much time and energy arguing over others’ lives and choices," she wrote in a post of her own.
"UFC is both sport and entertainment, and brand ambassadors (aka ring girls) serve not just to ‘inform rounds’ but to represent the brand when and where needed.
“I’ve been proudly/happily working as an OG (Octagon girl) for almost 8 years now and can only thank UFC for all the doors that keep being open to me. I also LOVE to keep proving haters wrong — yes, it’s possible to be a model while also studying, working and investing in other areas."
Andrade said it was fortunate the sport had come a long way since some ugly incidents in the past.
“I had people calling me stupid (remember the ‘do nothing b****es’ era? Women supporting women didn’t always exist in this industry) while I was literally using this opportunity and income to pursue a Masters in Law, learn other languages, improve myself. Sometimes you just have to laugh," she said.
“If one thing, all this exposure, free hate and lots of judgment made us all ‘grow’ thicker skin - it’s 2021 and I refuse to let people *try to* control my life, personal decisions and/or tell me what I should do for a living.”
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