Transgender Fighter Anne Veriato to Fight Male Opponent in MMA Debut

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Anne Veriato
Image Credit: Lospleyers.com

Anne Veriato, a 21-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, will face Railson Paixao in her first mixed martial arts bout which is set to be the first documented fight in the history of the sport

Veriato, 21, makes her first foray into the sport in a strawweight bout at Mr. Cage 34 on March 10. Having competed against men since she was seven years old in various jiu-jitsu tournaments, she believes it would be unfair to be matched up against females:

“It’s only fair to fight men,” Veriano told MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz this week. “It never crossed my mind to fight a woman because I think I’m too good. … I don’t think it’s fair to fight women.”

Samir Nadaf, who acts as Veriato’s manager and the fight promoter, claimed that he would only let her fight if she competed against men:

“This [fighter] is a phenom in jiu-jitsu,” Nadaf told Cruz. “[She] asked me for an opportunity. My answer was ‘I can give you an opportunity, but at Mr. Cage, men fight men, it doesn’t matter if you have a penis or not. If you were born a man, you’ll fight a man.’ [She] said ‘that’s exactly what I want.'”

Veriato believes that she will encounter some ‘prejudice’ as a result of the fight:

“I know that a lot of people will talk [with] a lot of prejudice,” Veriato said. “There are a lot of people rooting for me, especially after they start to know my story, but some still don’t respect me. They think I just want attention. They will only respect me after I have a few fights.”