Film and TV

Arianny Celeste-Conner Cordova dream dance: "The whole thing was way better than I ever thought it could be"

Last week, we told you about Dakota Ridge High School senior Conner Cordova and his impending dream date with Arianny Celeste, UFC ring girl.

Well, the get-together took place on Saturday night, and while it evolved from Conner's original concept, the event went so well that Cordova still sounds giddy two days later.

"It was great," he enthuses. "The whole thing was way better than I ever thought it could be."

Cordova, who's such a mixed-martial-arts fanatic that he runs his own tribute website,, initially staged a YouTube campaign with the idea of Celeste accompanying him to the Dakota Ridge prom. Celeste was game, but unfortunately, UFC had an event scheduled on that night, so she wasn't available.

"So then it was supposed to be at the spring dance," Cordova says. "The school was really gung-ho about it." But a student-government-related rub cropped up three weeks ago that prevented plan-B from working, too.

However, Cordova wasn't about to surrender. So he came up with an idea of staging his own dance on Saturday at Littleton's Riverfront Event Center, with proceeds going to Haitian relief via the website. Thanks to the charity angle, the bash came together quickly, with plenty of local businesses eagerly lending a hand.

"We met Arianny at her hotel with a limo at about 6:30, and drove to Jing restaurant in the Tech Center," he says. "It was a really good dinner, and it was comped -- and the limo was comped, too."

From there, they headed to the Riverfront center, where attendees weren't limited to Dakota Ridge students. "It was open to all the high schools," Cordova says. "We had kids from Dakota, Chatfield, Columbine, Ralston Valley, Mountain Vista. It was a really good time. And we had DJ Derrick Henry, who's the premier DJ in Denver. He donated his time as well."

As for Celeste, "she was great," he says. "She was just awesome -- super nice. And she looked fantastic, per usual."

Did he, um, get any?

"I got a kiss!" he exclaims -- and not the kind of fake kiss they acted out while guesting on Lopez Tonight last Wednesday. "A real kiss -- on the lips!"

Cordova said a couple of camera crews followed him and Celeste around throughout the evening; he's not sure what programs they represented. However, he's posted his own video at (that's the only place it's available at this writing). And he will be hosting continuing UFC-related charity auctions to benefit Haiti throughout the year. "People have donated a ton of stuff," he says, including "UFC gloves signed by Georges St-Pierre."

What's next? Now that he's gotten up-close and personal (sort of) with Celeste, Cordova, who writes about MMA and UFC on a number of different websites, hasn't settled on his another goal, "but I'm always looking for new stuff to do, to break down barriers in the sport I love."

In the meantime, he has a Celestial memory that should keep him warm at night.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts