UPDATE: Strikeforce has denied Craner’s story, and claims they have records of paying her for all her appearances and travel expenses.
Of all the ring girls that have come and gone in the employ of Strikeforce, Nicole Craner was one of the all-time greats. These days, the 29-year-old Idaho native holds cards for Shark Fights — which seems like a downgrade until you learn that Craner wasn’t getting paid at her old job. As she revealed on a recent episode of TUF Crap Radio:
“I think when you’re an organization like the UFC, they value their [Octagon] girls. They treat them well, they’re part of the family, and that’s something that I wanted to do with Strikeforce…With Strikeforce I can honestly say that I don’t think Scott Coker even knew my name. I don’t think he knew any of his ring girls’ names and I’ve never really talked about this before, but it came down to not getting paid; And for me, I treated it as a job and I put a lot of effort into it and when you’re not respected or valued enough, it makes you want to go somewhere else…
So I mean you can pay Frank Shamrock 340,000 dollars to lose but you can’t pay your ring girl 400 bucks?…There were promises made that we were going to do contracts and that we were going to travel and they had me host something that they said Josh Thomson and Cung Le would be hosting, but it was something that they didn’t host or never were going to host and I never got paid for it. So those kinds of things, to me, made me just quit. I felt that if I’m going to put passion into it and I’m going to go out there and put your name out there that I should at least be respected enough and valued as part of the company."
Damn, even the eye-candy’s taking shots at Strikeforce now. But when you consider that NFL cheerleaders make just $50-75 a game, you can’t really expect an MMA ring girl to be compensated with anything more than complimentary booty-shorts and an occasional wink from Mauro Ranallo. Of course, this is all just an excuse to run some more photos of Nicole. You can find those after the jump…