Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Transgender MMA Competitor, Former Special Forces Soldier, Bloodies Female Opponent Then Chokes Her Out

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American transgender mixed martial arts fighter Alana McLaughlin beat Celine Provost of France at the Combate Global preliminaries in Miami on Friday.

The event was McLaughlin’s debut competition.

Only one other openly transgender MMA fighter has ever stepped onto the stage in the United States.

The first was Fallon Fox, who retired due to injuries in 2014 after a contest that left her opponent, Tamikka Brents, with a fractured orbital bone.

Fox bragged about the incident later in a tweet:

According to a lengthy interview with The Guardian last week, McLaughlin, 38, was once an NCAA Division II long-distance runner for Newberry College.

There, McLaughlin struggled with gender identity, trauma from sexual abuse as a child and estrangement from family members. After seeking years of parental-mandated conversion therapy, McLaughlin decided to join the U.S. Army in 2003, viewing the military as “the ultimate conversion program.”

A U.S. Special Forces medic and Afghanistan War veteran, McLaughlin, then named Ryan, served six years total in the Army. Shortly after leaving the service, McLaughlin began gender transition in 2010, and in 2016, underwent a surgical transition in Thailand.

McLaughlin began training for MMA last year, telling Outsports, “I’m 38, so if I’m going to do anything serious competitive athletically, like now is the time.”

“Every fighter’s got an expiration date, and I want to do it while I still can.”

McLaughlin credited Fox, the transgender pioneer in the MMA female “featherweight” category, as the “catalyst” for making the Sept. 10 debut in Miami happen and a personal mentor who helped with preparation for the fight.

“I want to pick up the mantle that Fallon put down,” McLaughlin told Outsports. “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 was present at the match, watching the fight cage-side.

In another tweet, Fox celebrated McLaughlin’s winning move, the rear-naked choke.

MMA-training.com defines the rear-naked choke as a submission hold that “cuts off the flow of blood to the brain. If applied correctly, it will force the opponent to submit. If they do not submit, they will pass out within a matter of seconds.”

Because MMA has close roots to Judo, the term “rear-naked” comes from a Judo technique called “Hadakajimi,” which in English translates to “‘naked struggle’ because the choke hold doesn’t make use of the uniform, as other chokes do.”

McLaughlin employed the rear-naked choke to a bloodied Provost, 35, at the 3-minute, 32-second mark in the second round, until Provost tapped out. McLaughlin, “bruised and gashed, let out a yell that was equal parts jubilation and release,” Outsports reported.

According to ESPN, the Florida State Boxing Commission allowed the fight after McLaughlin passed a hormone panel and all other medical requirements.

With an arm raised in victory at the end of the match, McLaughlin wore a shirt that read “End Trans Genocide.”

Afterward, Outsports reported McLaughlin and Provost shared a post-fight hug, with McLaughlin praising Provost’s skill in the cage.

She “legit rocked me more than once,” McLaughlin said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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