No, the UFC has never had a transgender champion. However, the LGBT community has enjoyed strong representation in the promotion. Arguably the greatest female mixed martial artist and current UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes, is openly gay.
Nunes (32) is in a relationship with UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff, who is currently ranked No.5 in the strawweight division. The two got engaged in 2018 and became the first same sex couple to compete in the UFC. Later, in September 2020, the couple also welcomed their first child and named her Raegan Ann Nunes.
Despite asserting their dominance as fighters, it has not been too smooth sailing for Amanda Nunes and her fiance Nina Ansaroff. The two have faced some grief from old-fashioned conservatives who discriminate against LGBT MMA athletes.
In an interview with Teen Vogue in 2017, Amanda Nunes and Nina Ansaroff elaborated on their experience as LGBT fighters. The power couple described the amount of internet trolling they had been subjected to on account of their decision to be an openly lesbian couple.
We help more people who are having issues with this that affect their lives than people that just don’t like us. So, for me, it’s actually laughable. I don’t care what some troll on the Internet comments about it over some poor little girl who’s like, “Because of these two, I can tell my mom and get this off of my chest.”
We get messages all the time from girls. It’s hard and we understand. And it’s just us being proud of what we are doing, anyway. If it helps them, then we’re for it. It’s better to help them than some guy on the Internet who’s like, “Eww. Yucky.” Come on, man. This is 2017.
The UFC is home to many other gay fighters as well. Contenders like Jessica Andrade, Raquel Pennington, and Liz Carmouche have all come out as gay. In 2018, the UFC created history after Nunes and Pennington became the first pair of gay fighters to main the event at UFC PPV.
Which UFC fighter has fought a transgender MMA athlete in the past?
UFC bantamweight Ashlee Evans-Smith fought Fallon Fox, the first transgender fighter, in 2013, at Champion Fighting Alliance 12. Ashlee Smith put on a dominant performance against her transgender opponent. After landing heavy shots on her grounded opponent in the third round, Smith was declared the victor of the bout via TKO.
Fallon Fox received a ton of criticism from the MMA world for competing in the women's division. UFC commentator Joe Rogan especially, was vocal in his criticism.
According to Rogan, transgender athletes who compete against women enjoy an unfair advantage over their opponents and shouldn't be allowed to do so.