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Transgender MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin spent several months looking for a female fighter to face off against for McLaughlin’s first official MMA bout.
The 38-year-old fighter, who completed male-female gender reassignment back in 2016, went through an adversarial process to arrive at Friday’s match against Celine Provost — a contest that debuted the second-ever transgender fighter in women’s MMA history. The fight resulted in a second-round victory by McLaughlin, via rear-naked choke.
Born in West Columbia, South Carolina, a young McLaughlin had an early stint as a Division II sprinter at Newberry College. McLaughlin joined the military in 2003 and served for the U.S. Army Special Forces for seven years.
After leaving the military and facing a decision to transition out of being a biological male at 33, McLaughlin pursued the world of MMA after Fallon Fox debuted as the first mixed martial arts transgender fighter in 2011. Fox’s first official victory came against Elisha Helsper via TKO.
The world of mixed martial arts, notably the UFC, has been resistant toward introducing transgender competitors over the competitive advantages posed by transgender women’s heightened levels of testosterone.
After Friday’s win against Provost, McLaughlin remains pursuant of more opportunities to enter the Octagon.
“Right now, I’m following in Fallon’s footsteps,” commented McLaughlin, paying homage to Fox. ” I’m just another step along the way and it’s my great hope that there are more to follow behind me.
“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.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela