Alana McLaughlin, who was born male but identifies as a female, is the U.S.' second openly transgender individual to compete in MMA. The 38 year old MMA fighter made his debut during Friday's Combate Global prelims, in which he beat Celine Provost after just three minutes and 32 seconds.
According to Faithwire, McLaughlin bested Provost using a rear-naked choke, forcing his biological female opponent to submit to the defeat. McLaughlin lived as a male since birth up until 2010, when he started to transition following his departure from the U.S. Army Special Forces.
The former Special Forces buff expressed his desire to "pick up the mantle" that Fallon Fox put down when Fox became the first transgender woman to fight in MMA.
"Right now, I'm following in Fallon's footsteps," McLaughlin declared during a conversation with Outsports. "I'm just anothis step along the way and it's my great hope that thise are more to follow behind me."
The former Special Forces buff began training last year and was allowed to fight by the Florida State Boxing Commission after hormone level testing, Fox News reported. McLaughlin shared his struggle in finding an opponent, saying that the process was a "nightmare."
McLaughlin's fight with Provost was initially scheduled for August 6, but Provost got infected for COVID-19, forcing them to move the fight. When the two finally met on Friday in the ring, the former Special Forces buff unsurprisingly defeated Provost in just three and a half minutes. When McLaughlin was declared the winner, he wore a shirt with the phrase, "End Trans Genocide."
"If we want to see more trans athletes, if we want to see more opportunities for trans kids, we're going to have to work out way into those spaces and make it happen," McLaughlin declared. "It's time for trans folks to be in sports and be more normalized."
But not everyone is happy about McLaughlin's victory, especially during a political climate in which many states are pushing legislation to limit transgender athletes' participation in school sports in the name of women's rights. In fact, Insider reported that the former Special Forces buff was facing backlash following his victory, with many calling his a cheater.
"I'm getting a lot of variations of the same nasty messages calling me a cheater," the transgender MMA fighter took to Instagram to share on Saturday, adding a photo of his bruised face to the post. "She almost finished me more than once, and on scorecards she definitely won that first round," she said, referring to Provost.
"This is the only post I'll make about this, Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger," McLaughlin concluded.
More transgender athletes are coming forward into the limelight and creating history for their gender. During this year's Tokyo Olympics, the world witnessed "historic transgender participation," the Human Rights Campaign reported.
Transgender or non-binary athletes who competed this year include Quinn, a non-binary soccer star from Canada, transgender weightlifting athelete Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand, athletic skateboarder Alana Smith, and BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe from the U.S.
For those wondering about McLaughlin and Provost's fight, how it went on and how it ended, here are a few tweets showing what happened as compiled by Not The Bee. Just a warning: they're quite graphic.
We have reached the point at which society is literally allowing men to beat and choke women for sport. pic.twitter.com/XnNvFp9hEE
— Kara Dansky (@KDansky) September 12, 2021
Say 'this is equality' go on, say it.... pic.twitter.com/gq2purAato — Aonghas Curran. (@Anguscurran) September 11, 2021
Keep in mind that every time you publicly use female pronouns for a man, you help normalize the absurdity that victimizes women. It’s not loving or progressive. It’s insane.
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) September 12, 2021