Alana McLaughlin, a transgender MMA fighter, won her MMA debut on Friday night against Celine Provost. McLaughlin is the second known transgender woman to compete in MMA in the U.S.
McLaughlin, who is 30 years old, finished Provost via a rear naked choke in the second round of the match.
According to ESPN, McLaughlin was permitted to fight Provost after McLaughlin’s testosterone level was tested by the Florida State Boxing Commission.
McLaughlin, a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, wore a T-shirt after the fight that said “End Trans Genocide.”
Prior to the fight, McLaughlin said, “I want to pick up the mantle that Fallon put down,” referring to Fallon Fox, who was the first trans MMA fighter.
McLaughlin also stated, “Right now, I’m following in Fallon’s footsteps. I’m just another step along the way and it’s my great hope that there are more to follow behind me.”
Fallon Fox retired from competing in professional MMA in 2014 after controversy surrounding her career as a fighter. Specifically, there was widespread debate on whether Fox should have disclosed her transgender status to her opponents. The controversy surrounding Fox heated up significantly after Fox broke opponent Tamikka Brent’s skull in a fight in 2014. After the fight, Brent stated:
“I have struggled with many women and I have never felt the strength I felt in a fight like that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say that I have never felt so dominated in my life and that I am an abnormally strong woman in my own right? I still disagree with Fox’s struggle. Any other job or career that I say I try, but when it comes to a combat sport I don’t think it’s fair.”
After the fight, McLaughlin said, “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 then added, “It’s time for trans folks to be in sports and be more normalized.”