Transgender MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin was the subject of headlines after making a successful debut against Celine Provost in professional women's MMA at Combate Global on September 10 in Miami, Florida.
McLaughlin garnered backlash as many fans and fighters believe biological males should not be allowed to compete in women's sports, especially in a sport as violent as cage fighting. There were also a few who celebrated her victory, including fellow trans MMA fighter Fallon Fox.
McLaughlin's victorious debut has put her in the spotlight over the past week. Moments after her submission win, photos of McLaughlin before and after transitioning circulated online.
Alana McLaughlin's before and after photos
Alana McLaughlin has previously posted side-by-side photos of her current image and one before transitioning. On Instagram, the 38-year-old shared the pictures in celebration of trans visibility day.
However, some also posted before and after photos of McLaughlin to demonstrate how imposing she looked before her transition. Former UFC title challenger Jake Shields is one of them. He posted images of McLaughlin's current form and another one from her time as a member of the United States Army Special Forces.
Obviously, McLaughlin's physique has drastically changed from her army days. Transgender athletes are required to go through a year of having their testosterone levels lowered before being allowed to compete in women's sports.
The procedure's primary function is to eliminate the natural advantages biological males possess over biological females. However, a 2021 study found that transwomen still retain their advantages despite going through a year of testosterone reduction. For that reason, transwomen competing in women's sports remains a controversial issue today.
UFC stars disapprove of Alana McLaughlin's career in women's MMA
UFC contender Sean Strickland spoke out about Alana McLaughlin's MMA debut. The No. 7-ranked middleweight called McLaughlin a "coward" and said she should leave women's MMA. Meanwhile, Jake Shields suggested that organizations and state commissions disallow transwomen fighters from competing in women's bouts.
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Former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has also taken issue with Fallon Fox, the first openly trans athlete to compete in MMA. According to the MMA megastar, biological males have unfair advantages over women fighters.