Jake Shields, a retired MMA champion turned transphobic Twitter troll, started it all with a tweet. He wants to return to the cage to challenge “the 10 toughest trans men in the world to a fight.”
Wrestler Mack Beggs, a trans man, quickly took him up on the offer.
In Shields’ initial tweet, he laid down some strange ground rules: “I fight them with no training and no rest between each fight.”
He then tweeted and taunted further.
“Let’s go, alphabet people get your 10 best and prove me wrong,” he chortled hours later via Twitter. “A million views and not a single trans man has stepped up to accept my challenge. I’m starting to think they don’t have the balls to fight me.”
On Instagram, Beggs took Shields up on his offer:
Where’s the contract
But we ain’t doing no 10 on 1. Be a fucking man and run it up 1v1
Or is beating up on 10 men will make you feel better about your manhood
“I’m about to beat this m-fers ass if it comes down to it,” Beggs said in reply to a comment suggesting boxer Patricio Manuel, who is also trans, as an opponent for Shields.
In a follow-up Instagram video, Beggs taunted Shields’ offer as a joke and said it was “disrespectful” to MMA fighters.
“If you call yourself a fighter, do it fucking right,” Beggs said.
On the surface it sounds like the usual brand of sophomoric transphobia Shields is known for on social media. More loaded bromides from a “real bro.”
Supporters largely leaned into the force, and some tried to spin Shields’ challenge as a statement against trans women participating in women’s sports. Many tweets also lined up to berate his viewpoint.
Within a day, Shields did spell out his point to the challenge. In an exchange with a fan, he posted:
As much as I would hate to do it I think easily smashing the women would be the only way to prove my point of how ridiculous This is— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) April 21, 2023
When they see them all dropped in seconds they won’t be able to defend trans women in women’s sports
It seems that Shields still has issues in regards to who is who among trans people. Apparently he didn’t learn from the nuclear fallout he received after his criticism of Alana McLaughlin’s MMA debut in 2021. To quote trans MMA pioneer Fallon Fox, “People were giving him the business. It was such a self-own.”
In his Instagram reply, Beggs took aim at the continuing erasure of transgender men in relation to the ongoing controversy surrounding trans participation in sports. As governing bodies and legislative bodies make policy, Beggs was critical of attitudes of those like Shields that are hurting trans people sports and other areas.
“We still here, bro,” Beggs exclaimed. “We’re still here and we’ve always been here. It’s the fact that you all are so hyper fixated and have some fetish with trans women that you even forget that we are out here.”
Beggs ended his barrage with pre-fight energy.
“I’m specifically going to f—- you up Jake Shields personally,” he stated.
Will this fight happen? Most likely it is nothing more than a Twitter troll trying to get attention.
Should it ever occur, Beggs would definitely handle the pre-fight pressure that would come from the moment and from the barbs from Shields. Anyone who has seen what Beggs went through as a Texas high school student-athlete thrusted into a harsh spotlight of this controversy knows he can take a punch in the ring of public opinion.
This seems to be an instance of Shields engaging in more anti-trans nonsense, this time with a veneer of “I’m just asking questions,” with the implication that if no trans men stepped up to fight him it would prove his point, which is nonsense.
“Fragile masculinity at its finest,” one commenter on Instagram wrote.
Should any trans men step into the ring, Shields would be will advised not to underestimate the opponent. Chances are good that the man entering in the cage had many fights just to reach their truth and this moment that a retired blowhard chasing clout couldn’t begin to imagine.