Over my time of being in the MMA industry, the one question I get more than any other is, who am I most thankful for having a relationship with? Although there are many people that I am honored to call my friend, there is one name has always stood out above the rest, and that is former Strikeforce ring girl and now Shark Angel Nicole Craner.
Nicole is the perfect mix of beauty and brains as this Idaho native works at a law firm by day and models by night. Nicole took the time to talk to us about the upcoming Shark Fights and her life at the law firm.
KALIN: You’re a part of the upcoming Shark Fights card as a ring girl and this is an absolutely stacked card. What’s it like being a part of an upcoming promotion?
NICOLE: It’s awesome. I’m glad to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait (laughs).
KALIN: Do you have a contract with them or is this a show by show type of deal?
NICOLE: I think I’m pretty much with them now. I signed a contract with them last week and they put me up on the website. I think since I’m on the website I’m officially a Shark Angel.
KALIN: Although you are going to be there for a job, are you excited to see the fights?
NICOLE: Oh yeah. It’s amazing to see Keith Jardine coming over from the UFC to a smaller card. I’ve always been a fan of Trevor Prangely. I’m looking forward to a lot of the fights. I’ll definitely be watching.
KALIN: Shark Fights really came out of nowhere with this card that is stacked top to bottom. What inspired them to put all these big names on the same card?
NICOLE: The CEO, Brent Medley, has really been working on this for a long time. We have really good investors who are dedicated and are going to be there for a long time. He’s said that he wants to put on some big fights and then this came out of nowhere (laughs).
KALIN: Which fight will be fight of the night?
NICOLE: I’m probably going to go with Prangely vs. Jardine.
KALIN: And who wins that fight?
NICOLE: Trevor lives close to where I do. He’s from Idaho so I’ve always been a big fan of his. I’ll go with him. I think he’ll win by knockout because he’s one of the wild punchers that you never know what will happen when he fights.
KALIN: You were a ring girl for Strikeforce for a while. How did you enjoy your time there and what happened to bring that to an end?
NICOLE: I enjoyed working for them, but it’s a business for me. I take a lot of pride in what I do. When I’m out there supporting them and promoting them, I put a lot of time into that. I put a lot of effort into it and was not getting paid for what I was doing. I went somewhere where I felt well respected and a part of the company.
KALIN: It’s not real common to find female MMA fans. Did you become a fan of the sport before or after starting as a ring girl?
NICOLE: I’ve always been a fan first and foremost. I used to rent the videos when it first started. Back then with Royce Gracie, Kimo, and Shamrock there were no weight classes. I was watching it going “Wow, does this really happen?” I grew into liking the sport and watching it.
KALIN: With you being a fan since the early days, what do you think about the evolution of the sport?
NICOLE: It’s amazing to see how much it has grown. To me it’s like the NFL or NBA. It’s getting to be pretty well known and I think it’s amazing. We’re no longer like Bloodsport with Van Damme (laughs).
KALIN: Dana White recently announced that Arianny Celeste will be gracing the cover of Playboy. Is that something that you would ever consider or do you tend to stay away from that style of photo-shoot?
NICOLE: You know, I’ve thought about that a lot. I got a letter inviting me to their Mid-Summer Night Dream’s party, but I’m not going. It would be something that I would have to discuss with my family first. I’m a family girl from Idaho. For me, I’m the type of person that would not want to embarrass my family. First and foremost would be talking to my dad about it. If my dad was okay with it and my family was okay with it, and of course I would think about my children, it is something that would definitely be considered. I just wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone. I don’t want them disappointed in me.
KALIN: One thing that has always amazed me about you is that not only do you model, but you always work at a law firm. Now I don’t know what modeling pays, but with you frequently working with Maxim and other top outlets, it seems like working at a law firm isn’t something you would have to do. What keeps you working there?
NICOLE: I’ve always had an interest in law. I went to college for it. You can only be pretty for so long. You can only ring card for so long. I want something that I can fall back on. I want something that’s going to be there when I can’t model anymore. Some models think they can be this great big star and they don’t get any education. Usually your modeling comes to an end once you reach a certain age. You get to a point where you’re just not wanted. For me it’s just something that I want to be able to fall back on and always do and support myself.
KALIN: As always Nicole it’s been great speaking with you. Go ahead and talk to your fans before I let you go.
NICOLE: I just want to say thank you to all of my fans. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Definitely tune into Shark Fights. I’ll be waving at you and winking at you (laughs).