Miami, FL-U.S. army veteran Alana McLaughlin makes her professional debut in La Jaula this Friday, September 10, against her opponent, Celine Provost.

McLaughlin will be the first openly transgender fighter to compete in Combate Global and the second openly transgender fighter in professional MMA history, next to Fallon Fox, who guided McLaughlin to compete in MMA.

This bout was initially scheduled for August 6, but postponed since Provost tested positive for COVID-19. Bringing about a lot of stress to McLaughlin not only because she had poured so many hours into preparing for the original date of the fight but because she feared that her opportunity to fight “might not happen at all.

“While she was originally frustrated, her time in the Army and working security for local queer organizations prepared her for situations like these. “The biggest influence from the army to [her] MMA career was not the combative training, but the work ethic and the ability to push through situations like these,” she said.

McLaughlin’s route to victory in her eyes is “looking for a finish” by “getting inside and working the body”. Provost “is a striker and she’s tall, so [McLaughlin is] also looking to work takedowns.” It comes to no surprise that two of McLaughlin’s biggest influences are Mike Tyson with his heavy shots and Georges St-Pierre with his athleticism and takedowns.

McLaughlin has been training out of MMA Masters in Hialeah, Florida, for the past four months, where she has truly honed in on technique. Before this camp she “would rely on [her] physical attributes like athleticism,” but the step up in level within the camp has made it a priority to “become a more technical fighter”.  

While this fight is monumental not just in MMA but for sports in general, all McLaughlin wishes to accomplish is for “people to realize that [she] is sincere. [She] is not here to put up a front and trash talk to bring controversy to the fight because controversy follows [her] wherever [she] goes, just for being [herself]. [She] hopes people see her for who [she] is, enjoy the fight and that [she will] walk away with a win.”