Alana McLaughlin, the first openly transgender athlete to compete in mixed martial arts in the United States since 2014, won her MMA debut on Friday.
McLaughlin used a rear-naked choke to defeat Celine Provost via submission on the Combate Global prelims in Miami. The bout was over at 3 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round. A former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, McLaughlin is just the second transgender woman to fight in MMA.
The 38-year-old, 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.”
McLaughlin was originally scheduled to fight Aug. 6th but was postponed after Provost, a 35-year-old boxing and MMA veteran, tested positive for the coronavirus.
As she was declared the victor, McLaughlin wore a shirt with the phrase, “End Trans Genocide.”
“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.”