Several of Australia’s top politicians are seeking to bring an end to the UFC’s use of “Octagon Girls.” The new Anti-Octagon Girls campaign, spearheaded by Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews and Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp, aims at bringing an end to women being objectified as “sex objects” before the UFC promotion heads to ‘The Land Down Under’ for UFC 243 on October 6.
Andrews asked the UFC to follow in the footsteps of Formula One organizers who discontinued their use of grid girls more than a year ago.
“The Grand Prix did the right thing in ending the use of grid girls and we encourage other events to make similar moves,” a spokesperson for Andrews said.
The spokesperson said the UFC should “do the right thing”.
Capp joined in on the movement stating, “It’s 2019, do we really still need scantily clad women to wander around the middle of a fighting ring between rounds? Grid girls are no longer part of Formula One, walk-on girls are no longer part of professional darts – surely it’s time to move on.”
Just last week the promoters of the Battle of Bendigo boxing bout, featuring Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa, replaced ring card women with men, and labeled them as ‘fight progress managers’ after coming under fire from local activists and women’s advocacy groups. Event co-promoter Dean Lonergan said he was disappointed with the criticism which prompted him make the switch to men.
He said the three women would still be paid and their replacements had been found by his co-promoter, Bendigo resident and Australian 1996 Olympic boxing representative Lynden Hosking.
“Ironically, four women will be fighting tonight and wearing less clothing than those women I have now had to replace with men in response to these protests,” Lonergan said.
City of Greater Bendigo councillors Yvonne Wrigglesworth and Jennifer Alden were critical of the between-rounds custom which has been part of boxing for decades.
Wrigglesworth said women were being objectified in events like The Battle of Bendigo and Alden said stereotypes of this nature was not respectful of women.
UFC 243 takes place in Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on October 6, and is headlined by Robert Whittaker defending his UFC middleweight title against Israel Adesanya.