Do ring card girls have a point?
Is their purpose to infuse a little bit of estrogen into testosterone-laden venues to undermine MMA's infamous and undeniable homoeroticism?
Are their marches around the cage between each round a way to increase ticket sales via the guarantee of seeing *gasp* a real-live attractive women in minimal clothing?
Or, is the whole process of ring card girls walking around with giant cards emblazoned with the round number a courtesy to fans who are so inebriated that they've lost the ability to count?
Really, there is no great purpose of having ring card girls (or Octagon Girls as they're called in the UFC). As great of a job as Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer do at looking pretty (and they do look pretty), their work brings no large scale significance—the show could go on without them.
That's not to be offensive, it's just true.
Can you point out what would be different if the UFC (and MMA promotions across the world) just decided to stop the whole sordid, sexist tradition?
Nothing significant would change. People would complain for the first event or two, then they would just forget about it and move on.
Well, there would be one apparent difference: You wouldn't hear any cat calls between rounds, that's it—that'd be the only noticeable change. That and the cameras wouldn't keep panning to the girls between the rounds or between fights.
This sudden stance against ring girls might seem out of the blue, but it's not.
The sentiment was inspired by two events.
First, The UFC's first venture into China is coming up this weekend. What did the UFC do to celebrate this? They hired a Korean TV star as a new Octagon Girl.
What does bringing in an Asian Octagon Girl really do? Chinese people can tell the difference between other Chinese people and Koreans, so bringing in a Korean and passing it off like it's some great gesture to Chinese fans is more offensive than it is anything else.
Second, Ronda Rousey's reported entrance into the UFC demonstrates a woman's full potential: A dominant athlete, not a person who just gets ogled by lascivious men while wearing a bikini.
Like I said, the Octagon girl is a superfluous position. How many hungry, deserving female fighters—role models that would inspire women to be more than just cup size and looks—could be employed in their place?
At this point, keeping the Octagon Girls would be fine if they added Octagon Men for female fights for equality's sake.
Internet white knights who will inevitably make a comparison to the NFL's cheerleaders and use that as justification as to why ring card girls are ok are misguided. The UFC is a unique entity and, as a trailblazer in the field of MMA and in the general sports world, has the chance to change things for the better.
The UFC doesn't have to go along with presenting women as pieces of flesh begging to be gawked at and drooled over.
The UFC and the MMA world can choose not to objectify women in such a way or, at the very least, choose to treat both sexes equally.