Transgender fighter Alana McLaughlin was victorious in her MMA debut against Celine Provost on Friday night, although it did not come without extensive perseverance.

McLaughlin, 38, is the first openly transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter since Fallon Fox made her bow in the octagon in 2014. McLaughlin was able to secure a second-round victory by choking out Provost, although she survived being badly rocked in the first round. She was then able to mount a comeback to force a submission on her opponent.

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This fight was initially scheduled for August 6 but was unfortunately postponed following Provost testing positive for Coronavirus in July. For her part, McLaughlin passed all of her medical requirements before making her debut, including various hormone assessments.

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.

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She recently began MMA training and cites Fallon Fox, who won five of her six professional fights between 2012 and 2014, as her inspiration.

“I want to pick up the mantle that Fallon put down. 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.”

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 our way into those spaces and make it happen.”

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What do you think of transgender fighters competing in MMA?