Transgender fighter, Alana McLaughlin, has responded to the critics who have labeled her a “cheater” in the aftermath of her victorious MMA debut.

The 38-year-old emerged with the win at Combate on Friday evening, but the fight was definitely not one-way traffic. McLaughlin survived being badly rocked in the first round before coming on strong in the second to secure a submission win over Celine Provost.

McLaughlin came out as transgender in 2003, aged 20, but she was denied gender reassignment surgery by her mother and subsequently joined the army, serving in Afghanistan. She was later diagnosed with PTSD, before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2016.

The American is the first openly transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter to compete in the USA since 2014.

It appears some are finding it hard to welcome McLaughlin into the MMA community.

“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 Céline Provost some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere,” Alana McLaughlin wrote on social media. “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.”

Do you think a transgender woman fighting cisgender women is cheating?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.