Two weeks ago at a press conference for his Eagle Fighting Championship promotion, Nurmagomedov questioned the necessity of ring girls—or “Octagon Girls” in the UFC—in combat sports, saying that they serve no purpose.
“Look, I don’t want to offend anyone. Ring girls are the most useless people in martial arts,” Nurmagomedov said (translation via Fighting Flashback). “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.”
Celeste, who has worked with the UFC since 2006, took to Instagram over the weekend to issue a response to “The Eagle.”
Accompanied by a short clip featuring a soundbite from ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith, Celeste wrote the following:
I’ve work over 15 years in this industry and learned it’s easier just to simply NOT CARE.
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 die hard fans through touring the world and personal appearances . 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 ass independently wealthy female.
•A real estate investor and owner of not just 1 but 3 homes/properties one located in LA -which is expensive AF.
•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.
Last but not least, please tell me why reporters and have nothing better to talk about than the ring girls ? There has to be way better things to ask about!!
Several Octagon Girls voiced their support for Celeste in the comments, including Luciana Andrade, Red Dela Cruz, Vanessa Hanson, Camila Oliveira, and Brittney Palmer .
Andrade had her own extended response to the criticism:
People spend way too much time and energy arguing over others’ lives and choices. 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 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. I had people calling me stupid (remember the “do nothing b*tches” 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. If one thing, all this exposure, free hate and lots of judgement 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.
Also: no, we do NOT make more than fighters.