Outrage after transgender MMA fighter defeats French woman

Outrage after transgender MMA fighter defeats French woman

It’s not progress: Social media erupts in outrage after transgender MMA fighter who transitioned after serving in US Army Special Forces defeats French woman

  • MMA fight in Florida on Friday featuring a transgender woman who defeated a cis gender woman triggered outrage on social media
  • Critics said that Alana McLaughlin’s victory over Celine Provost, 35, of France amounted to ‘cheating’ and ‘robbery’
  • McLaughlin beat Provost in the second round of the Combate Global preliminaries Friday in Florida
  • McLaughin transitioned after leaving the US Army Special Forces in 2010 
  • She is the second openly transgender woman to fight MMA in the US, following Fallon Fox, who retired in 2014 
  • The victory via a rear-naked choke sparked controversy online in the ongoing debate regarding transgender woman in sports 

Friday’s mixed martial arts fight that saw a transgender woman who once served in the US Army Special Forces defeat a cis gender female in the ring has provoke more outrage over the weekend. 

Alana McLaughlin, 38, became the second openly transgender MMA fighter in the United States over the weekend, making her debut in Florida.

She won her debut match over Celine Provost of France – reigniting the debate over trans women in sports. 

McLaughlin won her first professional fight in the Combate Global prelims Friday against Provost, ending the match with a rear-naked choke 3 minutes and 32 seconds into the second round. 

McLaughlin, from South Carolina, began her transition in 2010 after spending six years in the US Army special forces. 

Alana McLaughlin (right), 38, became the second openly transgender MMA fighter in the United States over the weekend, making her debut in Florida. She won her debut match over Celine Provost (left) of France – reigniting the debate over trans women in sports 

McLaughlin (top) won her first professional fight in the Combate Global prelims Friday against Provost, ending the match with a rear-naked choke 3 minutes and 32 seconds into the second round

McLaughlin went up against Celine Provost for her debut match in the Combate Global prelims

McLaughlin defeated Provost in the second round with a rear naked chokehold 


McLaughlin, born Ryan, began her transition in 2010 after leaving the US Army Special Forces

Her victory prompted backlash from a number of people who said it was unfair for a trans woman to compete against a cis-gendered athlete in the sport. 

‘A biological male getting into a cage and kicking a woman around’ is not progress, conservative talk show host Benedict Spence said.

Adrian Hilton, a university lecturer, tweeted sarcastically that while ‘opportunity is endless’ for women in sports, it doesn’t apply in this case.

‘When a former US Army Special Forces soldier becomes a trans woman #MMA fighter and chokes a female competitor into submission, I’m not sure the opportunity for women in sport is any longer endless,’ he wrote.

Provost on Wednesday told The Guardian that she had no qualms about getting into the ring with an opponent who was born a man.

‘I train with men that are stronger than me all of the time,’ said Provost, 35, a school teacher from suburban Paris.

‘It doesn’t bother me at all. We need to show that MMA is an inclusive sport.’

Not much is known about Provost, who is reportedly an MMA fighter who has been training on and off for 10 years. 

But critics on Twitter accused Provost of being ‘naive.’

‘She seems naive to all the physical advantages her transgender opponent has over her,’ wrote one Twitter user.

‘I can’t believe this is even legal in the name of sport.’

The Twitter user added the hashtag #SaveWomensSports. 

The match provoked outrage on social media where Twitter users said it wasn’t a fair fight

 

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Celine Provost said she was up for it cos she “trains with men.”

‘She really thought she was stronger than an ex military dude who’s porn addled brain made him take some hormones.

‘Is there really a generation if women so stupid they think they can physically outpower men?’

Another Twitter user posted an image showing McLaughlin pinning Provost to the ground as blood runs down the French fighter’s cheeks.

‘Say “this is equality” go on, say it,’ tweeted another Twitter user.

Another Twitter user commented: ‘Doesn’t matter what you call it, all I see is a dude trying to beat girl up.

‘The difference in aggression, movement & coordination is striking, even at the poor level McLaughlin is showing.

‘Condoning this will eventually lead to tragic accidents.’

Another Twitter user commented: ‘Doesn’t matter what you call it, all I see is a dude trying to beat girl up.

‘The difference in aggression, movement & coordination is striking, even at the poor level McLaughlin is showing.

‘Condoning this will eventually lead to tragic accidents.’

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Oh look… Celine Provost’s face just happens to have been blocked out of this shot of the male who has been allowed by MMA to win women’s completion by claiming to be female.

‘This is not sport. It’s cheating and robbery.’

Another Twitter user wrote that the match was ‘legitimately unfair’ because ‘she ain’t even good.’

‘Alana McLaughlin transitioned 5 years ago, which means that “she” lived 33 years of her life as a man,’ wrote combat sports podcaster Angel David Castro. 

Not much is known about Provost, who is reportedly an MMA fighter who has been training on and off for 10 years. She is seen left in an MMA bout from 2015

https://youtube.com/watch?v=F6xuo4Kv7UQ%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

‘Tonight McLaughlin fought and beat a biological woman… what a shock.’ 

 MMA commentator @SafeBetMMA wrote: ‘I think people can identify with whatever they like but I don’t think this has a place in combat sports.’

‘Y’all think this is ok and empowering to transgenders?’

‘I respect trans rights; however, how is this fair, seriously?’ wrote another commentator on Twitter.

‘I respect trans rights all day but this is an unfair advantage,’ posted another.

‘Alternative headline: “Man cheats,”‘ posted Jessica O’Donnell, a writer for the Blaze in the replies to a New York Post article about the win. 

Others in feminist circles regarded the bout as an example of abuse.

”Male violence against women as a public sport? #NoThankYou,’ posted Genevieve Gluck, a contributor to Canadian feminist website Feminist Current.

Many agreed. 

‘Wow. I did not foresee the day we applauded men beating women,’ one response read. ‘What a stunningly brave new world.’ 

‘This is disgusting and dangerous,’ another posted. 

Others, however, were more congratulatory.

You did AMAZING,’ tweeted Young Journalism Initiative reporter Jessica Durling. ‘They’re just mad sports aren’t just for cis people.’ 

‘I support you so much and hope you don’t take the horrible bigoted comments to heart. You’re wonderful,’ wrote another Twitter user. 

‘You both did amazing out there!,’ another reacted. 

‘You’re amazing, don’t let the hate get you down,’ replied another. 

‘Athletes like you make history. We’ll look back at the way people are reacting to you one day the same way we look back at those who wanted to ban integrated sports.’ 

On Twitter, McLaughlin responded to the backlash.

‘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 Céline Provost some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere.’ 

‘Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger.’  

She is the second openly transgender athlete to fight MMA professionally in the US, following Fallon Fox who made history in 2012 with her debut, and who retired in 2014. 

‘I want to pick up the mantle that Fallon put down,’ she told Outsports. 

Others, however, were more supportive of McLaughlin 

‘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 watching Friday’s match ringside, ESPN reported.  

McLaughlin had been training for more than a year in preparation for the bout, she told the outlet, and it was scheduled originally for August, but postponed after Provost tested positive for the coronavirus.  

McLaughlin, born Ryan, cleared a hormone panel issued by the Florida State Boxing Commission, but noted that it was a ‘nightmare’ finding an opponent for the fight.

Amid the backlash McLaughlin told her fans that it was not necessary to defend her. 

‘Don’t feel obligated to defend me against transphobes online,’ she tweeted. ‘We all know they’re not arguing in good faith and your energy is better spent elsewhere.’ 

Anticipating the pushback, McLaughlin told Outsports in the leadup to the match that her participation was another step in having more trans people participate and be visible in sports.  

‘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,’ she said. ‘It’s time for trans folks to be in sports and be more normalized.’   

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