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Elias Theodorou, the world’s first ring boy?

“Ring boy” is not a phrase that really rolls off the tongue (or in my case fingertips) the same way ring girl does, in my research, in fact, I rather embarrassingly searched “male ring girl” due to my lack of familiarity with the term and subject in general. It certainly seems the term brings a patronising tone to the recently controversial topic in a way we all seem to have previously overlooked or outright ignored with ring girls. Regardless of this Canadian native and professional fighter in his own right, Elias Theodorou is set to become the one of the first to hold such a position for an organisation under the UFC banner.

Theodorou who’s last bout in the Octagon saw him defeat Dan Kelly in November to improve to 14-2, seems to be embracing his new role. One which will see him jump in the cage this time only between rounds at Invicta 28, a female only feeder promotion for the UFC which will be held at the tail end of next month. This is, however, not the first “MMA first” for Theodorou who as the self-proclaimed owner of the best hair in MMA is the first MMA athlete with a hair care endorsement deal.




Interestingly enough this is not the first time ring boys (still doesn’t sound right huh?) have been used in the sport. Back in 2013 ring boys were used in the more modestly sized Belts of Honorius promotion in Austin, Texas. The ring boys were used as cardholders during female fights and hyped the crowd alongside their female counterparts to what is reported to have been a surprisingly good effect. 

This all comes at a time where it seems the fate of ring girls as a whole is on shaky ground. The Professional Darts Corporation was the first to introduce changes and have removed walk-on girls from their broadcasts. These were ladies who would escort players to the stage during the introduction and build up of the match. This move comes with the support of the Women’s Sport Trust who in a statement on the topic have said: “women in the sporting environment should be judged by their sports appeal and not sex appeal”.  Formula One has followed suit and announced, albeit to a heavy backlash that they will not have grid girls for the upcoming F1 season as it no longer fits with the brands’ values. 

It is difficult to argue that ring card holders do more than add to the spectacle of the event, with the vast majority of the audience able to keep track of the rounds which for the majority of the time does not pass three. However, should that mean that they are abandoned altogether? In a sport which already highlights and values the hard work, perseverance and successes of all its athletes regardless of sex it does not seem to me to be such a bad thing to continue as before. The MMA community certainly has not appeared to pay much attention to the controversy and seems to be setting the path for equal opportunities with Elias Theodorou leading from the front, gloves on and ring card in hand.


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