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 night, beating Celine Provost by submission in the Global Combat preliminaries in Miami.
McLaughlin used a rear-naked choke to achieve the stoppage at 3 minutes 32 seconds of the second round.
A former member of the US Army Special Forces, McLaughlin is only the second transgender woman to fight in MMA. Fallon Fox, the first, stood by the cage looking at McLaughlin.
In the first round, Provost hit McLaughlin with punches multiple times and appeared to be on the verge of a finish. But in the second round, McLaughlin dropped Provost, managed to grab her and squeezed for submission.
McLaughlin, 38, passed all medical exams, including a hormonal panel, issued by the Florida State Boxing Commission to compete on Friday night, according to Global Combat executive Mike Afromowitz. McLaughlin has been training at MMA Masters in the Miami area.
It wasn’t easy for Combate to find an opponent for her, she said.
“It was a nightmare trying to find an opponent,” McLaughlin said before the fight. “I have nothing but respect for [Provost]”.
McLaughlin hopes to pioneer transgender athletes in combat sports, and says she wants to “open the door” and “make room” for others like her.
Fox fought six times in MMA from 2012 to 2014.
Patricio Manuel made boxing history in 2018 when he became the first transgender man to compete in a professional boxing match in the United States. Manuel beat Hugo Aguilar by unanimous decision.