Octagon Girls may be banned from upcoming UFC 243 event in Melbourne

UFC 243 arrives in Melbourne on October 6. Fans will be treated to a main event of a Middleweight Championship unification bout between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya.

However, one stalwart of UFC could be missing.

There are calls for Octagon Girls to be scrapped ahead of the event in Melbourne. They have been a staple of the organisation since its inception 26 years ago.

The tradition has been around much longer than the UFC itself, and in a boxing fight between Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa in August, there was an overhaul to the tradition.

After local councillors and women’s groups voiced their displeasure, the fight’s organisers took to using men instead of women to hold the round cards up.

This displeasure has spread to the upcoming UFC event in Melbourne and has the backing of Australian politician Daniel Andrews.

“The [Melbourne] Grand Prix did the right thing in ending the use of grid girls and we encourage other events to make similar moves,” Daniel Andrews’ spokesperson told Australia’s Herald Sun.

“We have come a long way in making sport more accessible for women and girls – events have a powerful message to send when it comes to the representation of women in sport and the community.”

The spokesperson cited the removal of Formula One’s ruling at the start of the 2018 season to remove the Grid Girls from events.

At the time, F1 released the following statement: “Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport.

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grand Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

The move has also received the backing from the Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

Capp said: “It’s 2019, do we really still need scantily clad women to wander around the middle of a fighting ring between rounds?”

In January 2018, Darts organisation PDC implemented the scrapping of walk-on girls at live events.

A spokesperson for the organisation stated: “This move has been made following feedback from host broadcasters.”

With the systematic removal from numerous sports, ring girls and their variants could well become a thing of the past.

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