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MMA fighter’s sexual orientation revealed. Jeff Molina on the consequences of coming out

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Sexual orientation in sport shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately it does for some. In a sport where basically all combat techniques are allowed, there is a feeling that one should not publicly reveal any orientation other than heterosexual. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

MMA is a discipline in which almost anything is allowed during a fight. But where basically all techniques of unarmed combat are allowed, there is also a feeling that one thing – for your own good – should absolutely not be done: according to the American fighter Jeff Molina, it is public disclosure of an orientation other than heterosexual.

With such conviction, he hid his bisexuality for 11 years of his sports career. He wanted to hide it further, but an anonymous Internet user outed him by publishing a recording of a close-up between him and another man.

“I didn’t want to reveal it like this, but the chance to do it when I was ready was taken away from me,” says Jeff Molina. “The thought of my buddies, teammates and people I respect looking at me differently and treating me differently because of something I can’t control was something I couldn’t bear,” he says.

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Jeff Molina during the fightFORUM

Jeff Molina is a 25-year-old bantamweight and flyweight fighter of the Ultimate Fighting Championship – the most important MMA organization in the world. Now – after being forced to come out – he is the first man in the UFC to openly belong to the LGBTQ+ community. He wrote about why he did not want to reveal himself in a post that referred to publications about him.

Jeff Molina criticized for supporting the LGBTQ+ community

“In a sport like this where most fans are homophobic bitches, I had no plans to come out at this stage in my career,” he wrote. “I wanted to be known for my skills and what I’ve dedicated the last 11 years of my life to, rather than being a UFC ‘bi-warrior’, which would certainly translate to ‘gay UFC fighter’,” he added.

– Athletes who have come out mention that they do not want to be the first ones, they do not want their sports results to be associated only with orientation – points out Cecylia Jakubczak from the Campaign Against Homophobia. – We also know stories from the past that it did not always end well – he admits.

Jeff Molina had a sample of how his fans could behave last October, when during one of his fights he wore UFC Pride Month clothes, openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Then, just for wearing rainbow colors, he was met with a wave of criticism in social media.

Women’s coming outs are not sensational

Fortunately, there are people among MMA fighters for whom the orientation of their colleagues does not matter at all. – Courage and respect for the fact that he “decoupled”, he simply put his cards on the table – says MMA trainer and owner of the “Pablo” club in Gdańsk, Paweł Szymkowiak.

As he admits, in MMA – as in other sports – women’s coming outs are no longer sensational. It is different for men. “I heard about two women in the UFC who are lesbians. It is not so controversial and, for example, Amanda Nunes is raising a child with her partner – recalls Paweł Szymkowiak.

The first boxer in history to come out as gay was Orlando Cruz – he hid it for 24 years. In February, the first Czech footballer, 27-year-old Jakub Jankto, made the coming out. It wasn’t until last year that the UK’s first professional footballer was revealed.

– Such cases are meant to encourage more and more people, to open up new environments, to make it function in our public space as something normal, not something exceptional – points out Eurosport journalist Rafał Sak.

After the publications about the currently suspended UFC fighter, a wave of hate and support fell on Jeff Molina.

Author:Maria Mikołajewska

Main photo source: FORUM



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