After trans-identified MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin used a chokehold to defeat opponent, Celine Provost, in their match on Friday, popular English broadcaster Piers Morgan said watching the match made him "sick."
Although Provost is a 32-year-old female that has over a decade of experience in competing in MMA, she lost her match to McLaughlin, a 38-year-old Army veteran who spent six years serving in the U.S. military as a male.
Morgan wrote an opinion piece published by The Daily Mail about the match for Combate Global at the Univision Center in Miami, calling it the "moment ideology met cold, hard reality."
The 56-year-old controversial journalist argued that Provost “couldn’t compete with the overwhelming physical strength of her opponent.”
“Provost’s punches bounced off McLaughlin like a baby lion’s off its father, and when she was pinned to the ground, she couldn’t move and quickly tapped out,” he described.
The controversial journalist pegged the trans-identified MMA fighter “a war hero” who served as a special force medical sergeant in Afghanistan in 2007 who helped “save many lives.”
He went on to say that his criticism of the fight does not mean that he does not empathize with the fact that McLaughlin’s mother disowned him when he underwent gender transition.
In an interview with The Guardian, McLaughlin describes growing up poor in South Carolina, being raped at just 5 years old by a farmer’s sons and how his family forced him into "conversion" programs.
Morgan called McLaughlin’s upbringing cruel and “appallingly bigoted” but stated that “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," Morgan wrote. "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 brought attention to the restrictive hormone treatment that sports authorities make some biologically male trans-identified athletes take before competing in women’s sports. He said the treatments “do not reduce muscle density or power,” which he says creates “unfairness” in all sports. But in a combat sport like MMA, he argues it can create a “potentially deadly disparity.”
The United Kingdom native maintained that although he has been pegged by critics of his stance to be “transphobic” or a “scare-mongerer,” he is neither.
“I’ve always supported trans rights to fairness and equality,” Morgan insisted.
McLaughlin is the second trans-identified person to compete in women's MMA. Morgan said he saw “unfairness manifest itself with the first transgender MMA fighter, Fallon Fox, who served in the U.S. Navy then transitioned, became an MMA fighter, and won all but one fights.”
“In one of them, [Fox] fractured a woman's skull,” he continued. “I fear worse is to come.”
Following the victory on Friday, McLaughlin posted a message on Instagram to all those criticizing the win.
“Good morning, friends, supporters and others! I'm getting a lot of variations of the same nasty messages calling me a cheater like I didn't just get beat on for a round and a half,” the athlete wrote. “Y'all need to show Celine some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere. She almost finished me more than once, and on scorecards, she definitely won that first round. This is the only post I'll make about this. Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger."
Following the match, McLaughlin wore a t-shirt saying: “END TRANS GENOCIDE.”
Morgan ended his op-ed stating that “the real crime going on here is against women’s sport.”