Exclusive: ‘I really had high hopes’ – Alana McLaughlin details MMA career

MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin isn't backing down from the bullies and trolls, and she's got a lot of fight left in her.

By: Victor Rodriguez | 3 months ago

Alana McLaughlin has led a few lives, and is no stranger to conflict. A former Army Special Forces officer, she’s struggled with a lot in life and doesn’t shy away from standing up for herself.

Having been a longtime fan of MMA since before the Unified Rules era, she was very familiar with the sport and culture surrounding it when she finally made the leap and got the itch to compete. Once she did, she became something of a lightning rod as only the second openly transgender woman to compete in the sport.

Alana McLaughlin’s leap to MMA

After her stint in the military, Alana McLaughlin had a choice to make – transition, or get started in MMA. Not leaving anything to chance, she ended up doing both. Having caught the attention of Combate Global, she managed to have her pro debut against French fighter Celine Provost. While things didn’t start out great for her in the fight, McLaughlin turned the tables and secured a submission victory in the end.

With that fight came a massive amount of vitriol. And she’s been dealing with that nonstop ever since. However, she’s handled the online attention with resilience, direct confrontation, and often a dash of humor. While playing wack-a-mole with trolls isn’t the most fun thing in the world, she does it often and does it very well.

Dealing with inaction

Alana McLaughlin really wanted to get busy and stay busy once she started training and had her debut booked for Combate Global. A documentary regarding her path to MMA was also in the works, produced by the promotion as well. But unfortunately, things have been painfully silent since that bout. In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, she opened up about her situation.

“I think I really had high hopes when I got that first pro fight,” McLaughlin told Bloody Elbow. “And I thought there was going to be more to it. But I also think that the executives at Combate (Global) sort of underestimated the vitriol that was going to be coming my way.”

Despite the difficulties, McLaughlin is immensely grateful to the organization for getting her opportunity to actually compete. That doesn’t make the frustrations any less of a concern for her when it comes to advancing and getting more chances at fighting. Her aspirations weren’t out of reach, but now she worries about the direction in which things are going with her absence from the cage. Having her first bout in late 2021, McLaughlin wants to make sure she can have more consistency and have a busier fighting schedule. But it hasn’t played out that way. At least not yet.

“So yeah, I don’t know, I guess I started getting the whole pie in the sky, thinking I was going to have a shot at something,” she said. “And now that seems further away. And like we pointed out, I’m 40. I wanted, really, my goal was just to have more fights than Fallon Fox did. But at this point, even that’s looking unlikely. I don’t know. It’s tough right now.”

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McLaughlin in 2021

Looking forward

Despite not having an opponent named yet, Alana McLaughlin is still keeping the hope alive for another bout soon. Given that Combate Global is based in Florida, a state that remains incredibly hostile to the trans community with recent legislation, things might have to stay on the backburner for longer.

Come what may, Alana McLaughlin isn’t letting things get her down. Despite difficulties in securing a steady training environment and the level of hatred directed towards her, she continues to let her determination fuel her to achieve her goals. Whether those goals are inside or outside of the cage, she’s going to keep fighting to reach them.

Hear more from Alana McLaughlin

The rest of this exclusive interview with Alana McLaughlin can be heard on The Level Change podcast, which is available here.

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About the author
Victor Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez has been a writer and podcaster for Bloody Elbow since 2015. He started his way as a lowly commenter and moderator to become the miscreant he is now. He often does weekly bits on fringe martial arts items across the globe, oddball street combat pieces, previews, analysis, and some behind-the-scenes support. He has trained in wrestling, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the occasional Muay Thai and Judo lesson here and there. Victor has also been involved with acting and audio editing projects. He lives in Pennsylvania where he plays way too many video games and is an S-rank dad.

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