Transgender fighter Alana McLaughlin wins MMA debut

Alana McLaughlin, the second openly transgender woman to compete in MMA in the United States, won her debut Friday night via submission at the Combate Global prelims in Miami, Fla.

The 38-year-old used a rear-naked choke against Celine Provost to end the match 3 minutes, 32 seconds into the second round.

McLaughlin, who began her gender transition after leaving the U.S. Army Special Forces in 2010, said she hopes to be a pioneer for transgender athletes in combat sports.

“I want to pick up the mantle that Fallon put down,” McLaughlin told Outsports before the fight, referring to Fallon Fox, who in 2012 became the first transgender woman to fight in MMA. “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.”

Fox, who sat cageside Friday, last fought in 2014. Four years later, Patricio Manuel became the first transgender male to compete in a pro boxing match in the United States when he beat Hugo Aguilar via unanimous decision.

McLaughlin was declared the victor by submission
Combate Global/Instagram

McLaughlin began training a year ago and was cleared to fight by the Florida State Boxing Commission after having her hormone levels tested, according to ESPN.

She said it was a “nightmare” finding an opponent.

“I have nothing but respect for [Provost],” McLaughlin said.

The fight was originally scheduled for Aug. 6 but was postponed after Provost, a 35-year-old boxing and MMA veteran, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Provost landed multiple punches in the first round before McLaughlin came out on top.

As she was declared the victor, McLaughlin wore a shirt with the phrase, “End Trans Genocide.”

McLaughlin is the second openly transgender woman to compete in MMA.
McLaughlin is the second openly transgender woman to compete in MMA.
Combate Global/Instagram

Her debut comes as multiple states argue bills aimed at restricting transgender athletes from participating in youth, high school and college sports.

“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 told Outsports. “It’s time for trans folks to be in sports and be more normalized.”


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