Natasha Wicks said on May 20 in an exclusive interview with Long Island MMA Examiner Eric Holden that she never let herself get too down when the UFC fired her in 2009. Like a rolling stone, Wicks kept moving and never stopped until other doors opened for her. Wicks says everything happens for a reason and by the looks of how her career turned out, she has a point.
Shortly after her ouster from the UFC, Wicks landed a gig as ring girl for the all-female Invicta FC MMA promotion, along modeling opportunities and running sponsorship deals. Wicks is busy gearing up for the next Invicta FC event, but she kindly took a few minutes from her busy schedule to talk to Examiner.com. Here's what she had to say:
Q. So its now been close to five years since the UFC released you, and some casual MMA fans might have lost track of what you've been up to since then. In a nutshell, what have you been doing since 2009 and what projects are you working on for the year ahead?
Wicks: Since 2009 I've been all over the place. I lived in Los Angeles for a year, went back to Las Vegas and now I live in the Bay Area, Calif. I've been on two tours for the troops, first one was in Iraq, second one spanned six different countries in the Middle East. I signed my first distance running sponsorship deal with Ryno Running and now I am currently sponsored by Oak Grove Technologies and Premiere Spine and Sport. I joined the Invicta FC family as a Phoenix girl. I also model for Kountermove and Apocalypse MMA.
Q. You said in a 2010 interview with Sportsnet that you were retiring from being a ring girl following the UFC release, but you popped up again as a ring girl in 2012 with Invicta FC. What made you decide to come back?
Wicks: I had no interest in going from walking around the leading fight organization, to a smaller one. It just didn't make sense to me. Being a ring girl is a bonus job, hella fun and brings some variety to the mix but I didn't feel the need to find another cage to walk. I knew Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp through my guest hosting for the Bazzie Awards and she contacted me about having the first spot on Invicta's Ring girl roster.
I thought about it and instantly knew I would love to be a part of this first ever all-female MMA organization. And since it was all women, it didn't compete against UFC. I liked that she wanted me, loved my look and didn't request I change it and that I have a say so in who was hired, wardrobe, etc.
Q. You always handled the UFC release with a lot of class, but it has never really come out what the exact reason was for you and Logan Stanton getting released. Do you really think it was just that they were going for a new look, or was the Josh Koscheck eye poke interview part of the decision?
Wicks: I still don't know if the Koshchek thing had anything to do with it. I am a jokester and thought it was ridiculous that people took that interview so serious. All they told me was that they were going for a different look.
I was more bummed that I didn't get to finish out the year that I rightfully won in the contest and had been told by the lady in charge of the fans that I was a fan favorite and could expect to be around longer then the one year I was signed for. Like anyone, I get upset and get my feelings hurt, but I don't stay down long. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I look forward to the next chapter.
Q. You've said in interviews that there was never a 'beef' between yourself and Arianny Celeste, but looking back, do you think she had anything to do with you getting released from the UFC? Do you think she has a lot of extra pull with UFC officials and power in the UFC that might make other ring girls resent her a bit?
Wicks: [Celeste] definitely has pull and is not going anywhere unless she decides to. As far as why other girls might not like her, no clue. For me personally I don't have any issues or negative thoughts about her, more confused why I get the hatred and obvious disapproval from her because like I've always said, we never had a beef while I was there. It is what it is and I don't think about it other than when asked in interviews.
Q. Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer have taken some heat by fans wondering if they had plastic surgery. How do you think they look these days? Do you feel like being compared favorably and more natural-looking is kind of karma hitting the UFC for letting you go?
Wicks: Hah that whole question makes me laugh. I could care less what they do to themselves. I think the boob thing is no big deal. It is natural to want full breasts and I am grateful that I have never felt dissatisfied in that area, nor have men been left with something to want. But f*cking with your face, I don't get it. To each her own. And if you ask me, the other two girls make up for the plastic look thats been trending around the Octagon. Vanessa and Chrissy are gorgeous and all-natural so there is something for everyone's taste.