As a part of Metro.co.uk’s Pride Takeover, UFC star Molly McCann shares her story and discusses the challenges she has faced and continues to face as a proud gay woman.
When I go back through it all, it was so hard for me as a kid to entertain the fact that I might be gay.
Just because of the choice of language and some of the behaviour that was constantly around me and because of the way I was made feel about gay people, from the people I would hang around with. And being from an Irish Catholic family, it just wasn’t accepted.
That took a long time for me to get my head around. When I was a kid and I used to hear those words and those attitudes towards gay people, I just ran away from it.
In my 20s, I started mixed martial arts and I found the culture of MMA is very accepting. I was made to feel safe in the gyms and eventually I chose to tell my mum. I say I chose to tell her – I couldn’t do it, she just asked me and I burst into tears. So I think she knew.
It was a tough time because I felt like I had shamed the family. My mum told the whole family and they all rang me telling me how proud they were. And it changed the perception. Not one of them said some of the things I thought they might say. It was quite a powerful moment, one to be celebrated for being my true self after hiding it away for so long.
The world of MMA and UFC has been so accepting. It is my home. My gym family, we push ourselves to our limits every day. You train your training partners to go win fights. And sometimes that means pushing them to their breaking point, to the point where they are in tears, hurting them.
It’s a bond that cannot be broken. It’s kind of like being in the army, the idea of the band of brothers. In my gym I have never been made to feel any other way than proud and appreciated for what I am.
Of course, there are still incidents when language that isn’t appropriate is used at me or around me. Sometimes it is a case of having to pick and choose your battles. Sometimes if people are being offensive, or have said a certain thing, I just ask them: ‘Why did you say that?’ And a lot of the time, it is simply because they were unaware that it was offensive.
Other times, all I would have to do is give a look and they would know. It is rare, but you still get that and that is the no1 thing that people try to hit me with to hurt me. It just depends how you are feeling that day.
Sometimes it feels like it is an empty cup. Every homophobic slur is like a drop of water and it drips and drips and drips and you take it. And some days it just overflows and you just lose the plot or feel sad. But predominantly it is all good, I feel like there has been a real language and vocabulary shift the last two or three years.
Molly McCann: Factfile
- Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann is a flyweight UFC athlete from Liverpool and was the first English female fighter to win in the Octagon.
- Molly made her MMA debut in 2015.
- In 2018, she won the Cage Warriors flyweight championship, joining UFC later that year.
- She has won five of her eight fights with UFC, including a devastating spinning elbow knockout in London in March.
- Molly’s next fight will be against Hannah Goldy at the O2, London, on July 23rd. Tickets available now.
- Follow Molly on Twitter here, and hold up-to-date with UFC Europe here.
My Pride publish firstly of the month was a thanks to the allies and everybody who has modified their vocabulary and their attitudes and educated themselves and that was very highly effective and really touching as a result of it confirmed folks need to perceive.
And you’ve got solely received to ask the query. People don’t know they’re being offensive half the time, you simply have to inform them. That is all.
Pride month is about that, however it’s also about understanding that it began out of riots, not due to what number of issues could be bought or marketed this month as a result of out of the blue it’s received a rainbow on it. It’s as a result of folks simply had sufficient of being locked up and battered due to their sexuality. It was a motion. A constructive riot.
It’s all about training. I nonetheless don’t assume sufficient folks know that and but day by day internationally, folks can nonetheless be murdered in some international locations for brazenly appearing upon their sexual preferences. It is simply naivety – folks aren’t there in order that they don’t really feel that.
Being out and remembering how exhausting it was to come back out as a homosexual girl, I hope that persons are in a position to attract one thing and take power from my story and what I’ve been by way of. It is not any totally different to anybody else’s, it’s in all probability a bit gentle. For me, it took a really very long time to know who I used to be. And then be comfortable with it.
For extra tales like this, examine our sport web page.
Follow Metro Sport for the most recent information on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride
This 12 months marks 50 years of Pride, so it appears solely becoming that Metro.co.uk goes above and past in our ongoing LGBTQ+ assist, by way of a wealth of content material that not solely celebrates all issues Pride, but additionally share tales, take time to mirror and raises consciousness for the group this Pride Month.
MORE: Find all of Metro.co.uk’s Pride protection proper right here
And we’ve received some nice names on board to assist us, too. From a listing of well-known visitor editors taking up the positioning for per week that features Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, we’ll even have the likes Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi providing their insights.
During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk may even be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity compelled to work tougher than ever to guard the rights of the LGBTQ+ group throughout occasions of battle, and youth homelessness charity AKT. To discover out extra about their work, and what you are able to do to assist them, click on right here.