American transgender mixed martial arts fighter Alana McLaughlin beat Celine Provost of France at the Combate Global preliminaries in Miami on Friday.
The event was McLaughlin’s debut competition.
Only one other openly transgender MMA fighter has ever stepped onto the stage in the United States.
The first was Fallon Fox, who retired due to injuries in 2014 after a contest that left her opponent, Tamikka Brents, with a fractured orbital bone.
Fox bragged about the incident later in a tweet:
According to a lengthy interview with The Guardian last week, McLaughlin, 38, was once an NCAA Division II long-distance runner for Newberry College.
There, McLaughlin struggled with gender identity, trauma from sexual abuse as a child and estrangement from family members. After seeking years of parental-mandated conversion therapy, McLaughlin decided to join the U.S. Army in 2003, viewing the military as “the ultimate conversion program.”
A U.S. Special Forces medic and Afghanistan War veteran, McLaughlin, then named Ryan, served six years total in the Army. Shortly after leaving the service, McLaughlin began gender transition in 2010, and in 2016, underwent a surgical transition in Thailand.