British commentator and former CNN host Piers Morgan castigated the idea of biological males competing in women's sports as transgender women after a special forces combat veteran demolished a biologically female MMA fighter during a Friday match.
What are the details?
In a blistering op-ed published in the Daily Mail, Morgan pointed to Friday's fight in which transgender fighter Alana McLaughlin, 38, used a "powerful chokehold" on a fellow MMA fighter who happened to be a biological female.
McLaughlin, a special forces combat veteran, defeated 32-year-old Celine Provost after placing her in a match-winning chokehold on Friday. The Friday match was McLaughlin's debut as a MMA fighter. McLaughlin easily ended the fight just three minutes and 32 seconds into the second round.
"It made me sick to watch a once-male special forces combat veteran beat up a woman on TV," he wrote. "It's time to stop this trans sport insanity before women start being killed."
McLaughlin, who took up MMA training earlier in 2021, fought against Provost, who has competed in the extreme sport for at least a decade, but as Morgan pointed out, Provost simply "couldn't compete with the overwhelming physical strength of her opponent."
Instead, Provost was barely able to leave a mark on McLaughlin, who was once a muscle-bound special forces operative.
"At this point let me be clear: McLaughlin was a war hero, rising through Army ranks to become a special forces medical sergeant who went to serve in Afghanistan in 2007 as part of an elite, 12-man team," Morgan wrote. "There, she helped save many lives as she treated IED casualties in a highly dangerous combat zone. I have huge respect for her military service, during which she was awarded eight distinguished service medals."
A conflicted history
McLaughlin, who grew up in South Carolina, has said that her mother — who had a strongly religious background — disowned McLaughlin once she heard that her son would soon be her daughter.
She told the Guardian in a Wednesday interview that a neighbor's son raped her when she was just 5 years old after having been subjected to what she referred to as "masculine time" with the neighbor's sons.
In the years following the incident, McLaughlin's family reportedly sent her to various conversion therapies to change her outlook on sexuality and gender. It didn't take, McLaughlin said, and she ended up begging her parents for gender reassignment surgery from a young age.
Before shipping out to Afghanistan, McLaughlin told her mother during a particularly heated phone call, "Maybe I should just go get myself killed at war."
McLaughlin's mother reportedly snapped, "Maybe you should."
Elsewhere in the interview, McLaughlin said, "My whole life I was a runt. I was undersized, I was bullied, I was raped, I was beaten, like I did not have an easy time. The story of my life has been trying to physically resist people that were larger and stronger and more skilled than me."
'Sickening to watch'
Morgan continued, "Regardless of her military record or personal struggles growing up, none of this justifies what happened on Friday night. I found the bout sickening to watch."
"It was obvious very quickly that McLaughlin was too strong, and equally obvious that this strength came from the 33 years she spent as a biological man," Morgan continued. "As I've said before, the restrictive hormone treatment that sports authorities make transgender women do before they can compete in women's sport does not reduce muscle density or power."
Calling the disparity "potentially deadly," Morgan added that such practices would end up killing women one day.
Morgan, who added that he's always supported trans rights to fairness and equality, said that while transgender men and women deserve fair treatment across the board, allowing mixed biological sexes to compete against one another in contact sports such as MMA will only lead to danger for biological women.
"If you're in any doubt about how unfair this all is, let me take you through a brief history of what's happened when male athletes have transitioned to be women and then competed against women born with female bodies," he wrote. "In 2017, American sprinter CeCe Telfer was ranked 390th among male NCAA Division II athletes in 400m hurdles. In 2018, Telfer transitioned, and in 2019, Telfer was national NCAA Division II women's 400m champion."
He also pointed to New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who qualified for women's tournaments and in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Hannah Mouncey, an Australian handball player who dominated on the country's women's team after scoring zero goals in 22 appearances for the men's team, and more as examples of unfairness in competition.
"We've already seen the same unfairness manifest itself with the first transgender MMA fighter, Fallon Fox, who served in the US Navy then transitioned, became an MMA fighter, and won all but one fights," Morgan noted. "In one of them, she fractured a woman's skull. I fear worse is to come."
"[McLaughlin is] a girl born with the massive physical advantage of a male body," Morgan concluded. "Yet now she's deliberately participating in a grotesquely unbalanced physical environment for other women. It's unfair, unequal, and in the case of combat sport, incredibly dangerous. But the real crime going on here is against women's sport."