Ex-UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes aim at ring girls, calls them ‘the most useless people in martial arts’
Nurmagomedov, who confirmed his retirement from mixed martial arts earlier this year, has rarely strayed too far from the spotlight in the months, receiving significant flak from the media for recent comments about the likes of UFC icon Jose Aldo, as well as issuing a rare public apology after claiming that comments he made about the political situation in Afghanistan had been misconstrued.
Next up in the former world champion's firing line? Ring girls, the bikini-clad women who parade around the cage in between rounds.
While this is a tradition that is practically as old as combat sports themselves, Nurmagomedov says that seeing ring girls at cageside makes him feel "uncomfortable".
"Look, I don’t want to offend anyone. Ring girls are the most useless people in martial arts," said Khabib at a recent press conference promoting his Eagle Fighting Championship fight league.
"What is their function? You can show that it is the second round on the screen.
"Do they develop a sport? Or they help people to see that it is the second round now? What are they doing? Tell me, please.
"I realize that is a history. History knows many mistakes. We read a 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."
The undefeated, 29-0 Nurmagomedov also shared an anecdote in which he says he was attending a fight card with his late father Abdulmanap and found that the presence of ring girls detracted from the show, making him feel "uncomfortable".
Some of the UFC's more prominent ring girls, such as the model Arriany Celeste, are thought to make upwards of $1 million per year for their work – but as far as Khabib is concerned, this is a waste of money.
"These [women] are passing by and showing people that it is the second round. But no-one looks at the [ring card]. I feel uncomfortable with my father," said Khabib.
"I am not against it. But if you want to do it, don’t impose it on me – do it aside. There are designated places for it.
"I think we must not mix all of it. This is my private opinion. We develop sport there, first of all. There should be some show elements, for sure. People want to come and watch, it is interesting for them. [But] I think to mix it is incorrect."Also on rt.com ‘I hope they’ll forgive me’: Khabib apologizes for heavily-criticized comments on Afghanistan (VIDEO)
And Nurmagomedov, who also reportedly refuses to train alongside female fighters such as his AKA teammate Cynthia Calvillo, says that if fans are expecting to see ring girls at hs upcoming EFC event on September 17 in Moscow, they will be disappointed.
"There are people that come to look at these [women], so you shouldn’t do it on 17th of September. You shouldn’t go there," he said.
"If you want to see the fights of the best world athletes, you have such a place on September 17th. It is at the CSKA Arena.
"The same way, there are places in Moscow where you can come, pay money and watch everything. Am I right?"Also on rt.com ‘If he moved to England, I’d be interested’: UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov tells pal Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Juventus, avoid PSG