Over the past few years MMA has exploded on the scene and become one of the most popular sports not only in American culture but around the world. If you like MMA, chances are you've heard of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as UFC. It's hard not to, considering it's the largest MMA promotion company in the world. The vicious uppercuts, head-spinning roundhouse kicks, and cringe-worthy submissions are all worth the price of admission, but there is a lighter, more attractive side to the gory sport. Yup, there are ring girls—really hot ones, too—and Brittney Palmer is one of the hottest of the bunch.
Palmer, 25, is not your typical package of T&A, however. She is currently juggling several careers: she's a UFC Ring Girl, an aspiring artist (yeah, she's got skills with the paint brush), a Playboy Playmate, and now, a TV host. Her new TV show Ultimate Answers, a series that will follow the lives of UFC fighters outside of the octagon, premieres on FUEL TV tonight at 9:30 p.m.
Complex got a chance to speak to the gorgeous ring girl about how she got into MMA, why she decided to take art classes and what we can expect from her new show.
Interview by Julian Patterson (@JulianPatterson)
How did you get into UFC?
I grew up in Las Vegas and that’s the UFA (Ultimate Fighting Association) headquarters. When I was 19 years old, I was dancing in show business and was also involved in the modeling world. They had auditions to be the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) Octagon Girl. I auditioned, got the job, and have been loyal to the UFA and UFC family for five years now. When they merged, they brought me over.
Outside of the octagon, who are some of your favorite fighters?
It’s really hard to me to say [who the best UFC fighter is] though, because anyone can have a bad day.
I think Anderson Silva is an amazing fighter. He’s so fun to watch and such a nice guy. And, you know, I have to say Chael Sonnen is one of my favorites as well. He has an attitude about him, but overall he’s super nice backstage. I always like to say Uriah Faber is one of my favorites because he’s a WEC fighter. Anthony Pettis is an amazing showman, too. Those are my four favorites.
Pound for pound, who do you think is the best UFC fighter right now and why?
That's hard to answer, but I have to go with Anderson Silva because he’s a badass. It’s really hard to me to say, though, because anyone can have a bad day.
Is there a close second?
It’s all different weight classes, so you can’t really say outright. I think Anthony Pettis is great. It’s hard for me to just give you one because they are all my favorite and I they are all the best at what they do.
You are currently studying art at UCLA, how do you balance your busy work schedule with school?
It’s really hard. I’m actually going to two different art schools. UCLA is just one of them. I’m able to take a little bit of time off, so I can schedule my schooling with my UFC press tours. I’m taking art and I find it fun to go to school because it’s something I like to do on my spare time, so it’s not an obligation to me. It’s difficult to juggle the two sometimes, but for the most part it’s easy.
Do people notice you when you’re on campus?
Not too much. People in my class sometimes do recognize me, but I try to keep a low profile. No one ever really recognizes me outside of my UFC Ring Girl outfit.
What’s the best part about your job?
Traveling the world and being a spokesmodel for my favorite sport.
What’s the worst part of your job?
Not being able to eat all the carbs and fattening food that I want. [Laughs.]
What can we expect from your new show on FUEL TV?
Yes, it’s on FUEL TV. It’s called Ultimate Answers. It’s such a cool concept. It pretty much gets an inside scoop on some of the UFC fighters that we have today. I ask them questions that true fans really want to know the answers to. There are even questions I really want to know about. It’s a fun show and I’m excited for it to air.
You appeared on the March 2012 cover of Playboy. Were you hesitant to pose for the magazine?
Well, I take figure drawing classes every week, and the thing with figure drawing is it’s with a nude model. So, for me, it’s second nature, except for Playboy I was the subject. It was cool to switch roles.
What was the Playboy experience like? Did you get the chance to meet Hugh Hefner?
You can’t really get bigger than UFC right now. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world.
I haven’t met Hugh Hefner yet, but the Playboy experience was amazing. I’m so lucky and grateful to even have the opportunity to put my name out there and do something really cool like that, because Playboy is one of the most iconic magazines of all time. Sometimes it’s hard for me to realize that I actually graced the cover of it. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I would do it again over and over if I could.
What's a typical day in the life of Brittney Palmer?
These days? [Laughs.] I get up, go to the gym, take my dog for a walk, and then start my day. I paint, I got to class, and just be a hippie I guess. I live in Venice Beach and I have a little beach spot there, so I’ll walk around, take pictures and hang with the locals and all the other hippies. It’s great and really cool to be in such a cultured part of Los Angeles because I’m from Vegas, so when I moved away, I wanted culture, and now I have it. A typical day is loving and enjoying and appreciating life, and the fact that I get to do what I love is so sick. I’m so lucky every day. I count my blessings.
Where do you see MMA going in the future?
I think MMA is already there. I mean, you can’t really get bigger than UFC right now. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world. It’s in 150 countries right now and getting bigger and bigger every day. We’re on FOX and FUEL. We’re at the pinnacle right now, so what I think is going to happen with MMA in the future is already happening and I think it’s just going to grow. I think it’s the new NFL.