The second openly transgender woman has competed in professional mixed martial arts.
Alana McLaughlin, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, is now a successful pro MMA fighter after winning her debut on Friday evening at “Combate Global: Perez vs. Roa.” The featherweight fight was the first bout on the prelims. The event took place in Miami and aired on Paramount+.
It was the first time a transgender athlete competed under the Combate Global banner, and only the second openly transgender athlete to compete in MMA. Fallon Fox, who last competed in 2014, was the first and helped McLaughlin on her journey to MMA competition. She was also cageside for the fight.
The first round was a back-and-forth battle, with both women finding success striking. However, McLaughlin was rocked and hurt from a clean punch, but she made it through to see the second round.
McLaughlin quickly shifted the fight back to her favor and found her path to victory by securing a takedown in the second round. After getting her opponent to the canvas, she was able to work her way to the back and sink in a rear-naked choke to earn the second-round submission.
Alana McLaughlin sale victoriosa en su debut profesional, ganando la pelea contra Celine Provost por sumisión en el minuto 3:32 del segundo round#CombateGlobal #MuchaMásAcción pic.twitter.com/omJXjtkSho
— Combate Global (@combateglobal) September 11, 2021
On Saturday, McLaughlin addressed her supporters and critics in a statement on Instagram:
Good morning, friends, supporters and others! I’m getting a lot of variations of the same nasty messages calling me a cheater like I didn’t just get beat on for a round and a half. Y’all need to show @cylinelagrande some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere. She almost finished me more than once, and on scorecards she definitely won that first round. This is the only post I’ll make about this. Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger.
McLaughlin, 38, who trains out of MMA Masters in Florida, is now 1-0 in her pro career and hopes her story as a transgender athlete will inspire others.
“The fact of the matter is I’m at the beginning and 38,” McLaughlin said when speaking with The Guardian. “I want to go as far as I can, but I really want to help normalize trans people in sports. This (fight) will start my contribution.”
McLaughlin was fully tested and cleared for competition by the Florida State Athletic Commission, according to ESPN.
MMA community mourns 20 years after 9/11 terror attacks
In first person: What’s it like to make the walk for a UFC fight?