Terrified female martial artists say they’ve pulled out of recent competitions to avoid facing much stronger transgender fighters — forcing a major organization to revise its rules to ensure trans females can now only face men.
The North American Grappling Association (NAGA) said it overhauled its rules after complaints about transgender female athletes fighting in recent events.
In one of its jiu jitsu events in Georgia earlier this month, transgender grappler Corissa Griffith took home four gold medals in women’s competitions, while another, Cordelia Gregory, placed second, the feminist outlet Reduxx said.
NAGA suggested that transgender grapplers were likely competing by simply ticking “female” in registration forms and then going unnoticed.
However, a number of women have come forward to complain about safety fears from uneven matchups — not all at NAGA events — that left some so scared, they pulled out of major tournaments to avoid similar encounters.
Jayden Alexander said she was left in tears after fighting a transgender woman at an unspecified event in July — and was so “devastated” and afraid, she pulled out of future competitions, including a NAGA one.
“The simple fact of the matter is that men, signing up in a combat sport to fight women, is absolutely unacceptable,” she said.
“The experience was horrible and scary … I was absolutely in fight or flight mode,” she said in an Instagram post video.
“We don’t deserve to self-exclude from competitions to avoid fighting men. We deserve for there to be rules and regulations put into place that keep us safe and that protect us from these situations happening in the first place.”
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Last month, Taelor Moore, a 135-pound woman, posted a video of her fighting a 200-pound transgender athlete, which she captioned: “My biggest opponent yet.”
Although Moore won the fight, her coach, Jimmy Witt, complained that she “could have been severely injured,” according to Breitbart.
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Another fighter, Ansleigh Wilk, said she was not told she would be fighting a transgender woman at a July 8 competition and was left in “panic mode.”
“They felt so strong, I was like, ‘Oh my God’ … I thought I couldn’t take them down,” she said of the match that she eventually won.
“This was always about the other girls traumatized by this event and the future of female grappling,” she said. “I can’t believe people think this is OK.”
Marshi Smith, co-founder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, said she has “spoken to four women who have all fought male fighters in the combat sport of Jiu Jitsu.”
“They are extremely upset. They are emailing federation leadership and being dismissed,” Smith told Reduxx.
NAGA stressed that not all of the women speaking out had their bad experiences at their events.
It also said that its rules were for biological females to always be given the choice to fight transgender athletes when they were aware of their involvement.
However, NAGA president Kipp Kollar conceded on Instagram that registration for events only asks competitors if they are male or female, without the option to declare yourself as transgender.
“We are adding additional text to the event and rules page … to help inform transgender females which division they need to enter,” Kollar said.
“Maintaining fairness for female athletes is our paramount priority,” Klopp said, noting that is “even more important given the heightened potential for injury in grappling.”
From now on, “male-to-female transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty are excluded from competing in the female division at NAGHA events.”
“Transgender females must compete in the men’s division,” NAGA also said in an update to its policy Saturday
“We hope that the simplicity of this revised policy will help to avoid any future occurrences where transgender females enter women’s divisions,” the policy states, adding: “If NAGA staff is informed that a transgender female is in a women’s division, they will be given the choice to go to the man’s division or given a refund.”