UFC fans were caught off guard recently with the release of octagon girls Logan Stanton and Natasha Wicks.
A replacement was sought out, selected, and delivered in the form of Oklahoma native Chandella Powell.
Powell has officially joined seats adjacent to UFC ring-girl veteran Arianny Celeste and can now be seen coming to a city near you.
Her unique journey began at UFC 108 in Las Vegas, NV on January 2. She was also in Fairfax, VA recently for the UFN 20 event. Two events down and hopefully many more to come.
Chandella took some time out of her schedule to discuss joining the UFC, getting accustomed to live mixed martial arts events, and her life outside the fight game.
Check it out:
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): How did you hook up with the UFC in the first place, because I don’t think anyone even realized they were looking for new octagon girls?
Chandella Powell: Well I’ve been modeling for years. They contacted me and asked if I’d like to possibly be one and audition. Of course I did. I just about fell out of my chair. Now I’m the new octagon girl. It was kind of crazy how that happened.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): They simply called you out of the blue?
Chandella Powell: Well, no. I work with a lot of people like Amber Nichole, who was a UFC girl. I was kind of in the loop. I think somebody had seen me. I just had to go into the UFC and audition. I don’t know if they were looking for anybody else. Luckily I was the one that was picked.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): How has Arianny Celeste been to work with so far?
Chandella Powell: She is super cool. She is so helpful.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Does she give you advice?
Chandella Powell: Literally, any question I have she always answers everything. When I was so nervous all she would do is giggle and be like, “You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine.” She is a great girl.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): You made your debut at UFC 108 recently. What was that night like for you? Were you excited? Nervous?
Chandella Powell: I would say a lot of both. I mean, A LOT of both. During the preliminaries I got some nerves out but as soon as that music came on for the main card and it kept getting louder and I was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” (laughs) There were so many people there. I was really nervous but super excited too.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Were you a fan of mixed martial arts prior to working for the UFC?
Chandella Powell: Yes, I have watched quite a few seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. That’s what kind of got me watching the sport. I was also friends with a few of the girls before and I was like, “Oh yeah, I’d like to go to the fights.”
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): So you had been to UFC events before?
Chandella Powell: No, I never got to go.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Okay, I got you.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Sometimes people find the sport a bit hard to watch in person at first. Sitting close where you do you get to see all the blood and hear every punch and kick. How are you getting acclimated to aspect the sport?
Chandella Powell: I thought it would bug me at first. I was like, “How am I going to sit ringside and watch this stuff?” You know what, with me watching on television it ended up not even bothering me. It’s actually more entertaining being right there.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Do you have a favorite fighter yet?
Chandella Powell: I don’t want to say I have a favorite fighter yet but I do like Rashad Evans a lot because he reminds me of my brother. I was watching The Ultimate Fighter and he was so funny. He really reminds me of my brother a lot. I’ve met him once before. My first event was his fight. I think he’s super cool.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): If you were a fighter what would your nickname be? Do you have a nickname that your friends call you?
Chandella Powell: Let me think about that one … Della “Punch You in the Face” Powell. (laughs)
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): I like how straight forward it is. That’s perfectly fine with me. I’m pretty certain nobody has dibs on that.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): What do you do outside of being an octagon girl?
Chandella Powell: I do bottle service at The Palms for the Playboy Club and Moon. Sometimes the pool in The Palms. I’m in the industry on the outside.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Is Moon the club that’s on the roof?
Chandella Powell: Yes, Moon is open with the retractable roof. The next floor below it is the Playboy Club. They are attached. I work both venues.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): I know former UFC octagon girl Natasha Wicks also worked at the Playboy Club before she joined the UFC. Did you know her from the club?
Chandella Powell: Yes, she was a bunny hostess. I’ve been at Playboy since day one and she was a hostess with us. She was a really nice girl.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): When you’re not working for the UFC or at the Playboy Club what do you like to do in your free time?
Chandella Powell: I like to hit some tennis balls and get on the court. I’m big into dance too. That’s pretty much it.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): What are you looking forward to the most now that you’re in the UFC? Name recognition? Traveling?
Chandella Powell: Definitely the traveling. I’ve never traveled anywhere outside the country but Mexico. Meeting all these new people and all this traveling is insane. Never once in my life did I think I’d even go to Virginia. It’s really cool.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Will you get to go to the events in Australia and Abu Dhabi that are coming up soon?
Chandella Powell: I hope so. I’m super psyched about those.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): When they had three octagon girls they used to only take two overseas so maybe you and Arianny will both get to go to these exotic locations. That should be exciting.
Chandella Powell: Oh my gosh, it would definitely be.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): Where can people find out more about you?
Chandella Powell: I have a blog at ChandellaPowell.com, which is attached to my Twitter (@ChandellaPowell), Facebook, and MySpace.
Derek Bolender (InsideFights.com): I appreciate your time this evening. We’ll do it again in the future.
Chandella Powell: Thank you Derek.
Derek Bolender is freelance MMA writer. Follow him at Twitter.com/DerekMMAwriter.
Tags: Arianny Celeste, Chandella Powell, Dana White, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, UFC, ufc 108, UFC 112