Transgender MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin says she’s been subject to hateful messages online calling her a cheater, following her maiden professional win.
McLaughlin was assigned male at birth but surgically transitioned back in 2016.
A former member of the US Army Special Forces, she served for six years and was awarded eight distinguished service medals.
And last weekend she won her debut MMA fight, after successfully choking out Celine Provost in the second round.
McLaughlin has become only the second openly transgender woman to fight in the MMA after Fallon Fox, who has not fought since her win over Tamikka Brents in 2014.
The fighter has revealed her ultimate aim is to normalise trans people competing in sport. Speaking to the Guardian, McLaughlin said: “The fact of the matter is I’m at the beginning and 38. I want to go as far as I can, but I really want to help normalise trans people in sports. This [fight] will start my contribution.”
McLaughlin has passed all necessary medical requirements for competing in MMA, including hormone testing prior to the bout, but has still been subject to widespread critique online.
Many have questioned the idea of a trans woman fighting other women, arguing the trans fighter would have a clear physical advantage.
Piers Morgan also wrote a column sympathising with McLaughlin’s situation and the adversity she’s been forced to overcome but stressed he was against her being allowed to compete against other female competitors.
The US fighter has now hit back at her critics, however, and defended her right to compete. She argued cynics need to respect Provost and that her haters are only making her “block hand stronger.”
Taking to Instagram, McLaughlin wrote: “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 [Celine Provost] 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.”News Now - Sport News