Ebanie Bridges once worked as a ring girl and is now the IBF’s female bantamweight world champion. She was angered by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s remarks disparaging ring girls as “useless.”
In 2020, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement as the unbeaten lightweight champion since he made a promise to his mother to not compete without his deceased father. Nurmagomedov now runs Eagle FC and features no ring girls on his show.
“I don’t want to offend anyone, ring girls are the most useless people in martial arts. What is their function? I have a question, you can show it is the second round that is on the screen.”
“There are people who understand martial arts and they are walking. This is my personal opinion Do they develop the sport? Or they help people to see it is the second round now? I realise that it is a history. History knows many mistakes. We read 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.”
Conor McGregor and UFC ring ladies were among the first to criticize him publicly. The now-boxing world champion Bridges joined the team.
“I was a ring girl. I love combat sports, I grew up with it, so for me to be at the fights. I loved it. I got paid mad money, probably more than some of the fighters to sit ringside.”
“I’d be walking around in a G-string – they don’t do the G-strings these days but back in my heyday, that’s how we used to do it. Why are people who aren’t us, trying to take our jobs away from us?”
“We love it, I loved being a ring girl. I don’t think it’s useless. I loved being part of the entertainment, being paid to watch those fights.
“You’ve got people saying it is sexist, it’s objectifying. Maybe I want to be objectified. Maybe I want to make money, don’t make my mind up for me. You can’t have boxing without the ring girls.”
Ring ladies and Nurmagomedov have a history together. Anna Galochkina covered up in his presence during a Russian mixed martial arts event in 2016.