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20 Aug, 2021 16:40

‘What kind of model am I?’ Russian MMA stunner Avsaragova rules out photoshoots as she talks feminism & stripping off at weigh-in

‘What kind of model am I?’ Russian MMA stunner Avsaragova rules out photoshoots as she talks feminism & stripping off at weigh-in

Budding Bellator MMA star Diana Avsaragova might be turning heads with her striking good looks, but the Russian fighter has ruled out pursuing a modeling sideline to complement her career inside the cage.

Flyweight Avsaragova is unbeaten in two outings since making her Bellator bow in April, earning an explosive KO win over American Tara Graff less than 30 seconds into her debut before edging a toughly-contested bout against another US fighter, Gabriella Gulfin, via split decision in July.

Those wins improved Avsaragova to 4-0 in her fledgling career, and ‘Pantera’ is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Russia’s most promising young female fighters – with a growing army of online admirers to match.

Indeed, the dark-haired North Ossetian star already boasts 273,000 followers on Instagram, where she previously revealed she is bombarded with marriage proposals while furnishing fans with training updates and pictures of life outside the gym.

But despite suggestions that her eye-catching looks could easily earn her a side hustle as a model, Avsaragova has modestly dismissed that notion.

“As a child I wanted to be a model. But I don’t want to now,” Avsaragova told Eurosport.ru.

“With broad shoulders – what [kind of] model will I make?! Models usually have thin shoulders. I’ll never be so thin. During the weight cut, you can [be thin], but I don't want to stick to it permanently.”

After Avsaragova arrived on the Bellator scene fans soon got their hopes up that she could cross paths with young Miami brawler Valerie Loureda – another social media favorite in the promotion’s flyweight ranks.

Loureda has claimed she didn’t even know who the up-and-coming Avsaragova was – a notion that the Russian scoffed at when asked about her US rival ahead of her last fight.

Loureda’s social media output is typically far more revealing than that of the modest Avsaragova – who is Muslim – and the Russian has dismissed the idea that she would partake in similarly revealing photo sessions.

“I hope this never happens,” replied Avsaragova when the proposition was put to her, adding that no amount of money would make her change her mind.

One occasion when Avsaragova was forced to strip off came during a tough weight cut for her last bout against Gulfin, when the Russian needed to cover her modesty behind a towel when stepping onto the scales.

Avsaragova admitted that the weight cut had been brutal but said the experience of stripping down had not been a traumatic one.

“Honestly, no [it wasn’t stressful],” said Avsaragova.

“At that time, I wasn’t thinking at all. If they hadn't covered me with this towel, I swear I wouldn't even have seen it.

“I felt so bad. The main thing for me was to make weight. And that's all. Nothing else matters. I left there, my trainer ran up to me with water, and I fell to the floor with a towel.

“I sat and sobbed from the fact that I made the weight. I was so relieved. I didn't need anything at that moment. I even wanted to cut off my hair. The man who weighed said: ‘No, no, that’s not necessary. It won't help.’

“The first time I was weighed, I was 100 grams over the limit. An hour remained. I got rid of it in an hour.”

Avsaragova spends much of her time training in Grozny, where she said she is now accepted by male fighters despite some initial skepticism – which she put down to local traditions in the Muslim-majority republic.

“Yes, just because of this [Chechen tradition],” said the fighter after raising eyebrows.  

“Do men think that girls are equal to them in terms of rights? No. I never understood this when people write this to me."

“A girl wants to play sports for herself, and not to be considered equal with someone. Nonsense. I’m not a feminist. For example, I don't like the word ‘boetsunya’ [female fighter].

“It seems to me the word ‘boets’ [fighter] is OK for a girl as well.

“I never thought about feminism. A man is a man. He's stronger. No matter what the athlete is. Man is by nature in charge, no matter what. And the fact that men earn more is also normal.

“I always say: if a girl wants to go in for sports, then she shouldn’t be forbidden. If they’d forbidden me, I wouldn’t see myself anywhere else. I didn't like to study. Although now I regret that – being educated isn’t bad!” Avsaragova added.

“I didn’t study English. I thought I’d never need it. And now I regret that. But I’ve started.”

While her past two fights have been Stateside, Avsaragova would at least be less dependent on her English language skills should she get her wish to compete on home soil for her next Bellator outing.

The starlet has already said she wants to feature when Bellator hosts a first-ever Moscow event headlined by legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in October – with Avsaragova’s homegrown fanbase no doubt equally keen to see her on the card.