. . . that is to say, Ring Girls and Ring Boys are furniture. The promoter hires a model and they hold a sign and walk around the ring. They could as easily have a Roomba drive the sign around the ring. Nobody worth consideration really cares how they look (provided they look at least half-decent in a swimsuit).
Nael Chavez is putting on fights in Austin. Amateur MMA fights in local gyms, to support Enlightened Warriors. Some of those fights are ‘girl fights’ and wouldn’t you know it, some of those ‘girls’ don’t want to pose next to a female in a bikini when they receive their belts. I find it entirely reasonable that a working mother who has dedicated the last year of her “spare time” to martial arts training gets a little offended at having to pose next to a different flavor of hot chick for her official photo.
So did Nael. So he hired a couple of BIG burly dudes who can stand being in front of a crowd to carry the round-count boards. I have to disagree with Amy Winters on one point. When those men came into the ring wearing Ranger panties and holding up the round number signs for the first time, let me assure you that “cheers and whistles” were not what came from the crowd.
I was ringside and let me tell you, what may have sounded like ‘cheering’ from somewhere in the audience was a deafening ROAR of approbation by the time it got to the people in the ring. The crowd ate it up. Nael and his ring boys took it as seriously as the ring girls, and the crowd totally got it. Did a few people get offended that men were parading around in beachwear holding up signs? Maybe. I find it hard to reconcile that type of butthurt feelings with approving of men fighting in the exact same outfits a few minutes later. If you can’t get over your repressed homosexual tendencies long enough to let ring boys stand in for ring girls when chicks are fighting, you fail as a person.
(Unless you get off on looking at girls in bikinis and just don’t want to have to look at men in shorts . . . in which case, paying to attend and view a fight involving men in shorts 95% of the time and girls in bikinis 5% of the time gets us right back to those repressed tendencies.)
These things are the same:
. . . equality which includes not having your fighters feel like they are a piece of meat on display for the prurient interest of audience members, vs. trained fighters competing and displaying their martial arts.
After Belts of Honorious III, a minor update: This time there were some boos the second time the ring boy went out, by himself. The other times there was also a ring girl, which seemed to placate the lower-browed members of the audience.