A blog about how Ring Girls belong to a bygone sexist era and I thus question the sexism still pervading boxing and mixed martial arts!

So, I turn on my facebook this morning and see a photo from some MMA website of a lady called Rhona Rousey, with only her fighting fists covering her breasts and some handy camera work keeping her modesty. I am not going to lie, as they wanted, I was slightly turned on because Rhonda is a very attractive young woman, but my overriding emotion was one of utter dismay.  I looked at the image and shook my head in utter disappointment at Rhonda Rousey for agreeing to do such a photo.  I did so because Rhonda is currently big news in the USA, namely because she is the first newly crowned female champion of the the biggest mixed martial arts organisation at the moment called The UFC(Ultimate Fighting Championship).  At a time when female boxing and mixed martial arts are finally starting to get taken seriously by media and people alike, doing such ‘sexy photos’ can do nothing but potentially harm and undermine their cause.  This then made me start thinking of another issue I have with boxing and MMA, namely the phenomena of bloody silly RING GIRLS.  For the last five to six years I have been frequently moaning and tweeting how it is about time they no longer existed.

Ring Girls and such photos like the Rhonda Rousey one I described really annoy me because they implicitly imply that all men are nothing more, than carnivorous sex starved hungry creatures, that think about nothing else but sex twenty-four seven. A lot of mainstream advertising similarity transmits such connotations still and as an educated thirty something man,I want to explicitly greatly reject this!

About two months ago I went on to facebook and saw a scantily clad photo of the UFC no 1 Ring Girl, Arianny Celeste. I cannot remember exactly what I wrote below the photo but it was along the lines of , I watch fights to marvel at talented fighters, not to get titillated at such Ring Girls. I then popped on again a few hours later and some immature kid/adolescent had written me some homophobic abuse at me, saying was I that word that rhymes with maggot??? As I have friends that are gay I was so angry at this churlish remark by this uneducated numpty. I do not communicate with such prejudiced people but if I had I’d have gone, “NO IDIOT, I’M A HETROSEXUAL MAN WITH A BRAIN…WHO WON’T GO ALONG ANYMORE WITH THIS SEXIST ASSUMPTION ABOUT STRAIGHT MEN” EG I dont think about sex all of the time.  I suppose I can not blame the Ring Girls themselves because they are just trying to make a decent living like everybody else. I guess my main bone of contention should be with the companies and promoters that employ them. I watch UFC events and when the cameras focus on the Ring Girs being all cutesy and flirty with the camera, I JUST CRINGE…..I’m not that sad to get off on that thank you very much. You’re telling me men who order these Pay-Per-Views, wouldn’t anymore if these women didn’t exist….I hardly think so? Therefore, it is time for this sexist,archaic element of combat sports to no longer exist!

Please do not get me wrong, boxing and MMA have come along way with sexism and female representation through the years.  For example, the last Olympics had female boxing in it for the first time which was a great success. Irish boxer Katie Taylor is a sporting icon within Ireland and after winning a Gold Medal with Team GB, the immensely likeable Nicola Adams has become somewhat of a household name within Britain. Although still in its infancy, the UFC now thankfully has female fighters on it’s roster. It is also a welcome sight to see a female referee officiating mens fights in the UFC, namely Kim Winslow.  Yes of course there needs to be more female fighters,judges and referees etc, but positively changes are starting to happen in this respect.

I have to question therefore why in the background of the changing positive representations of women in boxing and MMA, the presence of sexist Ring Girls still pervade these two industries? In an ever changing world where sexism is no longer tolerated thank goodness, I do not understand why Ring Girls are? I was so disappointed a few years with the UFC when they constantly promoted one of their Ring Girls(Arianny Celeste) being in the latest PLAYBOY magazine. Again, I’m not against PLAYBOY per se but what I was against was with it’s close association with the no 1 mixed martial arts brand. How does this help the sport grow and become mainstream…..the simple answer is that it it doesn’t! Perhaps I am missing something but I am unable to comprehend how seeing a Ring Girl during the fights enhances your enjoyment of them? There are so many competing sports out there competing for mainstream media coverage, surely the connotations of girls walking around the ring or cage with hardly any clothes on can only harm this? Or OK, if you continue to persist with this phenomena, then where are the Ring Boys for the ever increasing numbers of female heterosexual boxing and MMA spectators? Either way I do not watch sport for cheap titillation and it is about time more men like me with a brain, said out loud they were no longer willing to be patronised like this. I love boxing and MMA because I watch on in awe at these greatly skilled modern day Gladiators competing for glory and fulfillment .WHEREAS LOOKING AT RING GIRLS PRANCE AROUND THE RING OR OCTAGON WITH THEIR FAKE SMILES AND FAKE BOOBS, THEY DON’T TITILLATE ME, THEY JUST INFURIATE ME!!!!!


Hey! I'm a fan of scarves ha ha, television shows and most sports. I'm a Media and Cultural Studies Graduate from LJMU and love to blog about all sorts. At the moment most of my blogs are either TV or mental health related ones. I hope you enjoy them and hope some really move you. Thanks, Andy.
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  1. shannonclare says:

    Its tradition just like a lot of other sports have traditions. Is it outdated? Maybe..do they girls think its a sexist activity? I doubt it as it is raising their profile and marketability. I think the ring girls are just an extension of the event and if they can also raise the profile of the event then they too have fulfilled their purpose. You know I love me a ring girl or two. lol


    • SCARFMAN says:

      Not sure tradition is a strong enough argument, it was tradition once to have bare knuckle fighting, it was tradition for the husband to go to work and the woman to stay at home do all the housework all day, doesn’t mean it’s right and not sexist? I have no problem with the RING GIRLS themselves apart from being silly tarts…if I could earn money doing that then I would. My issue is with the promoters, it projects a seedy pervy image of the sport AND ASSUMES ALL MEN THINK ABOUT IS GETTING OUR LEG OVER….it’s demeaning! Ring Girls are irrelevant in this day and age…..but I do love a cheeky perv in a moment of weakness hahahahaha!


  2. SJ says:

    Loved this article. As an amateur mma fighters girlfriend I am also sick of the sexist ring girl thing taking away from fighting. Its agrivating when I ask why there are no ring men for the female fighters and all the guys around look confused and shuffle their feet. Its like they are all totally ok with objectifying women, and using them to venerate the men like trophys, but put one man in a sexist position and they get scared. At least my man thinks the girls are frivolous as well.


  3. trudy says:

    Awesome post. It is so refreshing when a man shows this sensitivity to the basic objectification of women that pervades so much of our lives. When I see the inevitable Ring Girls, I can’t help but cringe and squirm in embarrassment–not for them, I guess, but for “womankind” and its supposed future as equals in this world.

    Just this morning, I was watching the post fight press conference of the Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez fight. Throughout Bjorn Rebney’s interview, two “babes” were standing behind him with blankly attractive looks on their faces, sexual ornaments in their bikinis. Among the many messages that you described that this sends about men, I believe the main message women take from this is: “this is what women are good for, this is what being a woman is all about. Be quiet, look good, smile (thankfully, a few women and men made similar critical, dismayed comments about this on the YouTube page).

    Like you, I am amazed this still goes on. And I wonder, how many aggressive, promising female fighters turn away from MMA because of this blatant sexism?

    But on the other side of questioning, i wonder, really, how many of the MMA men with little daughters actually hope those daughters end up being Ring Girls instead of fighters (or, medical doctors, or lawyers, or teachers, or firefighters, for that matter)? I’m thinking that if the fighters and promoters ask themselves that question as they raise their baby girls, it might clarify a few things about what sexism really is–disrespect. Because if they know, love and respect the girl (as I assume they feel toward their own daughters), maybe they’d not be so excited about the Ring Girl phenomenon.

    Another thought experiment that you suggested–that of having “Ring Boys”– should also cause people to realize what their unconscious feelings are about women, compared to men. I’m guessing the concept of “ring boy” would be unthinkable for what it would suggest about both men and women.– I.e., that these men have no more potential than to strut around and look ornamental while the smart folks converse about the sport; and that the audience all wants to have sex with them. further more, would the MMA fighters and fans want their little sons to grow up to be Ring Boys, on the grounds that it would attract more women fans? What kind of self esteem would that young man have? What would it say about women fans and their actual attention to the sport itself?

    But alas, this is not a good comparison, because men as a population already possess that status as “the smart folks” who are in charge, which is why the idea of Ring Boys would be seen as only cartoonish, a joke (as in “you can’t be serious”)–or dismissed as the thought that only a (rhymes with maggot) would think of.

    But we don’t even go there. We don’t even reverse the roles. We don’t even discuss it (which is why i appreciate your post). If someone like you or me suggests this thought experiment, a lot of people reflexively scream the word that rhymes with maggot, as you experienced with the autograph incident, and fend off any new awareness of themselves.


    • SCARFMAN says:

      Thanks sooooooooo much to your reply Trudy, so pleased you appreciated it. I agreed with everything you said in reply. You on twitter and I’ll follow you, I’m @SCARFMAN_ if you are. Thanks once again and delighted you enjoyed reading it.


  4. trudy says:

    Yes, thanks! I’ll find you there.
    (sorry if i posted more than once; i was having a hard time with WordPress, and had to re-register).


  5. KB says:

    And 4 years later they are STILL around… ugh. It’s ridiculous! I am watching the Mayweather/McGregor fight tonight and looking at these ring girlsike , Really??! My own husband defended it even, which really upset me. I googled the topic to see if I am the only one who feels this way and I was so glad to see your post and that there are actually real men out there who are offended by this sexism! Thank you. So many men defend it. I am a female athlete and strong woman raising three teenage boys. I think that is why I have become so sensitive to this repulsive treatment of women! It’s never going to change as long as so many men find it acceptable that ogle these women. It’s a sport. Watch the sport. No one needs ring girls. They can go to strip clubs if they want to see half naked women and implants!! Come on! How many more years is this going to be tolerated! I agree with what you said about Rhonda’s naked photo! Can’t we ever just be a strong woman?? Why do we always have the be sex objects for chauvinistic dirt ball men’s ogling pleasure??!! I sure nt my boys to grow up like thatt the girls aren’t being and it’s their choice. But just because de themselves for money, it doesn’t make it right that it’s shoved in the rest of our faces who just want to watch a sport! It’s so sad..


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