A legendary ring girl has fired back at Khabib Nurmagomedov after the retired UFC fighter branded the fighting tradition "useless".
Sara Beverley Jones, who previously worked at Anthony Joshua fights, told Daily Star Sport the Russian hothead should rethink his stance.
Khabib had said: "I don’t want to offend anyone, ring girls are the most useless people in martial arts. What is their function?"
He also urged ring girls not to "impose it to me".
But Jones says she doesn't understand his take and that being a ring girl opens doors for other opportunities in sport.
Her agency, SBJ Management, will organise the return of ring girls at Josh Warrington's rematch against Maurico Lara for the first time in the UK for nearly two years.
And she told Daily Star Sport: "We're all excited to see Ebanie Bridges fight again on this card, as a former ring girl turned boxer we love to support her.
"It also shows the opportunities that can arise from being a ring girl, the opportunities created and the different paths taken.
"I know this has happened in MMA too, former ring card girls turned to training to fight. Khabib has made a comment regarding ring girls in MMA and branded them 'useless' and a 'distraction' from the fight.
"Which seems absurd to me as the girls only ever enter a cage or ring during the interval, so they're not distracting from any fighting taking place.
"It's a great job and a great side earner for lots of women who enjoy doing it. I know many ring girls feel very fortunate for the opportunity to work huge fighting events, such as the Joshua vs Usyk fight coming up."
Was Khabib unfair to call ring girls "useless"? Let us know in the comments section…
There were fears ring girls would be axed from boxing after Formula 1 grid girls and darts walk-on girls were dropped in 2018.
But boxing stood by ring girls, and fans have voiced their delight at their return for Warrington's fight.
In full, Khabib had said: "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.
“Ring girls are the most unnecessary people in MMA, what function do they bring? You turn on the tv and you see it’s the second, why are they walking there.
“For example, I sit with my father. Every person has his own preferences, the culture and the values. I come to Fight Night, sit with my father.
"These people are passing by and showing that it is the second round. But no one looks at the plate.
“I feel uncomfortable with my father. I am not against it. If you want you can do it, but don’t impose it to me, do it aside. There are the designated places for it.
"I think we must not mix all of it. This is my private opinion.”
Another Khabib critic included UFC star Kevin Lee, who criticised his comments.
Lee told him to "pick on someone your own size".
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