It was the moment ideology met cold, hard reality.
Alana McLaughlin, 38, the second transgender MMA fighter to compete in the sport, used a powerful choke hold to beat Celine Provost, 32.
The latter was demonstrably a more skilled and experienced fighter during their bout on Friday night – McLaughlin only took up MMA earlier this year, whereas Provost’s been doing it for a decade – but just couldn’t compete with the overwhelming physical strength of her opponent.
Provost’s punches bounced off McLaughlin like a baby lion’s off its father, and when she was pinned to the ground, she couldn’t move and quickly tapped out.
None of which is entirely surprising given that McLaughlin spent six years serving in the US special forces as a man.
McLaughlin (right) only took up MMA earlier this year, whereas Provost (left) has been doing it for a decade
McLaughlin used a powerful choke hold to beat Provost
There is a striking topless photograph of her during her time in military service.
In it, she closely resembles the stereotypical appearance of male special forces operatives with full beard and moustache, and very muscular tattooed arms and torso.
At this point, let me be clear: McLaughlin was a war hero, rising through Army ranks to become a special forces medical sergeant who went to serve in Afghanistan in 2007 as part of an elite, 12-man team. There, she helped save many lives as she treated IED casualties in a highly dangerous combat zone.
I have huge respect for her military service, during which she was awarded eight distinguished service medals.
Just as I also have huge empathy for someone whose mother couldn’t cope with her son’s desire to be a woman and has now disowned her.
In a striking topless photograph of her during her time in military service (left), McLaughlin closely resembles the stereotypical appearance of male special forces operatives with full beard
Celine Provost (pictured) could have been killed as so-called ‘progressive feminists’ around the world welcomed and celebrated the event that could have caused it
In an interview with the Guardian, McLaughlin paints a grim picture of life growing up in South Carolina where her strongly religious family forced her to attend conversion therapy sessions and she was made to spend ‘masculine time’ with a farmer’s sons, one of whom raped her when she was just five years old.
Finally, in an anguished phone call with her mother, McLaughlin exclaimed:
‘Maybe I should just go get myself killed at war.’
To which her mother allegedly responded: ‘Maybe you should.’
Nobody should be treated so cruelly, and many transgender people have endured similar appallingly bigoted behavior from their own families.
But regardless of her military record or personal struggles growing up, none of this justifies what happened on Friday night.
I found the bout sickening to watch.
It was obvious very quickly that McLaughlin was too strong, and equally obvious that this strength came from the 33 years she spent as a biological man.
As I’ve said before, the restrictive hormone treatment that sports authorities make transgender women do before they can compete in women’s sport does not reduce muscle density or power.
This creates a bad enough unfairness in non-contact sports like sprinting or weightlifting, but when it comes to combat sport like MMA it creates a potentially deadly disparity.
I once asked a UK government minister who supports trans women competing in women’s sport if she would be OK if Floyd Mayweather announced he was transitioning and got in the ring to fight women born with female bodies.
She refused to say it would be unfair because she was too terrified of upsetting the very vocal and aggressive trans activist lobby.
That’s how crazy this debate has got.
At the time, I warned that something similar would inevitably happen and it would present a lethal threat to women.
I was promptly accused of being a transphobic scare-mongerer.
But I’m neither.
I’ve always supported trans rights to fairness and equality.
In fact, I angrily harangued President Trump during one of our television interviews when he was in office over his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the US military, pointing out to him that more money was spent on Viagra for troops than on transgender medical bills.
As for scare-mongering – I’m simply spelling out an uncomfortable truth for those whose desire to virtue-signal on trans issues overrides their ability to see reality in front of their own eyes.
Provost’s punches bounced off McLaughlin like a baby lion’s off its father
If you’re in any doubt about how unfair this all is, let me take you through a brief history of what’s happened when male athletes have transitioned to be women and then competed against women born with female bodies.
In 2017, American sprinter CeCe Telfer was ranked 390th among male NCAA Division II athletes in 400m hurdles. In 2018, Telfer transitioned, and in 2019, Telfer was national NCAA Division II women’s 400m champion.
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard failed to qualify for any men’s international tournaments during 14 years of competing as a man. Then Hubbard transitioned and qualified for 11 women’s tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics.
Australian handball player Hannah Mouncey scored zero goals in 22 appearances for the Australia men’s handball team, then transitioned and scored 23 goals in just six appearances for the Australia women’s handball team.
English transgender cricketer Maxine Blythin averaged 15 playing for a men’s cricket team in Kent, but 124 for the women’s team and was named women’s cricketer of the year.
We’ve already seen the same unfairness manifest itself with the first transgender MMA fighter, Fallon Fox, who served in the US Navy then transitioned, became an MMA fighter, and won all but one fights.
In one of them, she fractured a woman’s skull.
I fear worse is to come.
The Guardian bills itself as a women-friendly feminist newspaper, yet its interview with Alana McLaughlin was unquestioningly supportive despite the very serious danger trans women MMA fighters so obviously pose to women born with female bodies.
Celine Provost could have been killed as so-called ‘progressive feminists’ around the world welcomed and celebrated the event that could have caused it.
The restrictive hormone treatment that sports authorities make transgender women do before they can compete in women’s sport does not reduce muscle density or power
As for McLaughlin, she posted an indignant Instagram message hitting back at her critics with a seriously disingenuous assessment of the fight, saying: ‘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 Celine some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere. 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.’
She added some hashtags below it including ‘#girlslikeus’, but the truth is that McLaughlin’s not a girl like the opponent she was fighting.
She’s a girl born with the massive physical advantage of a male body.
And the next girl with a female body that she fights might not get out alive.
‘My whole life I was a runt,’ McLaughlin told the Guardian. ‘I was undersized, I was bullied, I was raped, I was beaten, like I did not have an easy time. The story of my life has been trying to physically resist people that were larger and stronger and more skilled than me.’
Yet now she’s deliberately participating in a grotesquely unbalanced physical environment for other women.
It’s unfair, unequal, and in the case of combat sport, incredibly dangerous.
As the verdict was announced, McLaughlin stood in a t-shirt saying: ‘END TRANS GENOCIDE’.
But the real crime going on here is against women’s sport.
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