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Do MMA ring girls deserve better pay?

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According to a March 8 tweet from MMA Roasted, Jade Bryce will be appearing this week on the MMA Roasted Podcast to discuss her life as a ring girl for Bellator MMA.

Bryce has never spoken out about low pay for ring girls, and she probably won't during her upcoming radio appearance.

However, low pay for professional ring girls is a topic that needs to be discussed.

Long history of low pay

For more than two decades, professional MMA ring girls have been poorly compensated for their countless hours of hard work for multimillion-dollar MMA organizations.

Unless you're Arianny Celeste, chances are you're making just $100 per event as a ring girl for a regional promotion.

Even at the pro level, the UFC paid some ring girls other than Celeste a salary of just $750 per event as recently as 2009.

Some fight fans have argued that ring girls aren't valuable because they say customers are paying to see athletes fight, not to watch women walk around the ring in bikinis and high heels.

While it's true that ring girls don't fight and may not be the main attraction at the event, they are a vital piece of the overall fan experience.

Ring girls add to fan experience

Often times, fight fans attending live MMA events don't get to meet the fighters, but they do have the chance for a pic and an autograph with the ring girls.

Essentially, this means that ring girls are brand ambassadors. They help make live MMA events more of an interactive experience for the fans.

They take some of the burden of meet-and-greet sessions off the fighters' shoulders, and help get more eyeballs on the promotion.

Most families go to Disneyland for the rides, but do they not appreciate the meet-and-greets with costumed characters?

The characters add to the overall fan experience, just as ring girls do. It makes for a more enjoyable, interactive experience for the customers.

Not the easiest job

Women are selected for professional ring girl teams because of their skill set, potential and experience.

The most talented, skillful and experienced ring girls are selected for pro organizations, just as the most talented, skillful and experienced athletes are selected to fight.

Since only the best are selected in their field, they should be compensated as such.

Many fight fans argue that being a ring girl is the easiest job in the world. They see Arianny Celeste or Jade Bryce walking around a cage while holding up a ring card, and think that's all that goes into it.

They don't realize there's much more to the profession than walking in a circle in tiny bikinis.

Professional ring girls are required to stay in shape. They need to constantly workout and eat right, just as top-level athletes do.

Working out independently to stay in amazing shape is a full-time job all in itself. Tack on weigh-in appearances, autograph and photo signings in fan experience booths, constant travel and seven-hour long MMA events, and you quickly see there's a lot to it.

Difficult work conditions

When you're a ring girl, you're often working in smoky casinos. MMA promotions love booking live events at casinos, so unfortunately ring girls have to deal with smoke.

Additionally, there's an element of danger involved with walking around a room full of intoxicated, rowdy men, while wearing nothing more than a tiny bikini.

Sure there are bodyguards and security guards around to make sure no overbearing fans get too touchy with the ring girls, but there's still a distinct possibility for a ring girl to encounter someone dangerous.

Even if a ring girl never gets touched inappropriately, they still face people in the crowd hooting, hollering and whistling at them from a distance.

As you can see, it's not so easy being a ring girl.

How much do ring girls deserve to be paid? Let us know in the comments or tweet the author, @EricHolden.

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