It’s been 14 months since Alana McLaughlin made her debut in the MMA cage and became the first transgender female to compete in the sport since Fallon Fox’s last bout in 2014. McLaughlin has spent the time since training and patiently waiting for the opportunity to fight again with all the frustration therein.
“To be honest I’m pretty salty,” McLaughlin said about her second-round win in her debut against Celine Provost in September 2021. “If I were a cis woman, that fight would have been a contender for fight of the night.”
In this week’s edition of the Trans Sporter Room, McLaughlin was interviewed on location in New York City where she was filmed as part of a documentary on her debut and how it factors into the continuing discussion of trans inclusion in sports.
The documentary will be produced by Combate Global Productions, and Emmy-winning director Marc Perez was tapped to shape the story. According to Perez, the film will be released in early 2023.
To the fighter herself, the project is more about the community than about her own story.
“I signed into to this for the same reasons that got me to fight,” McLaughlin said. “Sure, there’s part of me that wants to be remembered, but it's really more about making more visibility to the trans community and making space for us.”
In the year since the debut, McLaughlin has largely been training and pushing for the next fight. In the same timespan the trans community has seen attacks against it intensify, from the growing amount of discriminatory legislation, to fury over NCAA champion swimmer Lia Thomas and the regulatory changes by governing body in response.
McLaughlin has spoken out on a number of trans issues, mainly via social media, at the same time protecting her privacy, especially in this election year.
“I go out of my way to avoid watching the TV,” she noted. “Otherwise, I would be in perpetual state of rage.”
She steadfastly maintains a state of readiness as well. McLaughlin said she has been approached concerning a potential bout in early 2023, in addition to the documentary coming out.
While others may see her as a face of a community, she maintains a clear perspective.
“I’m not that special,” she said. “I just want to compete, take care of my friends, and take care of my community. That is all that matters.”
It was one of the most unusual interviews we’ve ever done at the Trans Sporter Room, and one of the most fun.
In our “Trans Women In Cars Getting Coffee” edition of the podcast this week, Alana McLaughlin talked about the last fight, the next fight, being a role model and meeting Chelsea Manning. Catch the full interview. Now available Megaphone, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts, and many other platforms for Outsports podcasts as well.