Elias Theodorou is all about equality.
That’s why the UFC middleweight will take off his gloves — and most of his other clothes — as he trots around the cage at Invicta FC 28 as the first ever ring card boy.
Now that role isn’t unfamiliar to fans who have watched major mixed martial arts promotions for the past 20 years. In fact, ring card girls like Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer have become household names for fans as they are commonplace at major UFC events.
In recent months, however, there has been a call to potentially remove ring card girls from their duties with some suggesting that the job just objectifies women. Others argue that it takes away from the legitimacy of the sport considering there are female fighters headlining some of the biggest cards in the world yet there scantily clad women trotting around the same cage holding up numbers to the tune of whistles and chants from the crowd.
Theodorou heard those arguments and felt like this would be a golden opportunity to have a conversation about equality by volunteering to serve as a ring card boy at an upcoming Invicta FC event, which of course is an all female fight promotion.
“The opportunity to create that conversation after blogs and so many sites are talking about removing ring girls in general from combat sports and any other type of athletics. I think in the true pursuit of equality the answer is more not less,” Theodorou said when speaking to MMAWeekly.
“That’s why I kind of want to do this in terms of just starting a conversation. I truly think it’s an opportunity to have an adult conversation about something like being a ring card holder and hopefully doing a damn good job at it as well.”
@invictafc #28 Fight Week! ?? This Saturday I'll be making my @invictafc Ring Boy™ debut along with a great night of all-female fights! Will you #walkwithElias this week as I make history as their inaugural male card holder? Also taking over @ufcfightpass account on Instagram, sharing all the BTS leading up to the big day! #saltlakecity #bound Thank you sponsors: @fuelfoods @toptiermoving @gp8oxygenwater @highperformancenutrition
When it comes to the argument about being objectified, Theodorou argues that no one has any right to be more offended than the person choosing to do the job.
No one is forces Theodorou to serve as a ring card boy just like no one is telling the ring card girls working UFC events that this is all they are ever allowed to do.
“One of the arguments that I put out there is you can’t be more offended than the person we’re talking about,” Theodorou said. “I think we can’t be more offended than the people who have signed up to do this and that would be the ring girls.
“It’s a profession, they’re professional at it and they need to make a living, too. It always comes back to the answer is more not less.”
Theodorou got his first crack at playing ring card boy at a small promotion in Montreal but he’s excited to document his entire experience with Invicta this weekend as he prepares to launch his new YouTube channel.
In fact, Theodorou says that this is just the start of what he hopes will become a ring card boy phenomenon with plans to appear at future Invicta FC card as well as a calendar he’s plotting for release that will feature men and women of all shapes and sizes.
Beyond the questions about equality between men and women, Theodorou likes the idea of expanding that conversation when it comes to all the body shaming issues that exist in the world today as well.
“That’s the whole point of owning the trademark, too because I plan on having calendars come out. I plan on having plus sized models as well so there’s another form of equality,” Theodorou said. “I can think out of the box. I’ll have other ring card boys. I could see someone like Roy Nelson as Mr. July.”
This won’t be the last time Theodorou will be seen cage side at an Invicta FC event either as he’s already plotting his course for more appearances in the future.
“I think I started something along with Shannon and Invicta,” Theodorou added. “And it’s really exciting to be a part of the conversation and hopefully leading it.”