CV NEWS FEED // In a victory for advocates of women’s sports, the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) has barred men who identify as female from competing against women in its competitions after multiple female competitors protested a former rule.
NAGA’s new rule holds that “male-to-female transgender athletes [sic] who have gone through male puberty are excluded from competing in the female division” at their sanctioned events. In other words, male competitors who call themselves “women” now are only allowed to compete against other men.
“We hope that the simplicity of this revised policy will help to avoid any future occurrences where transgender females [sic] enter women’s divisions,” the updated rule states.
Under the new policy, male competitors who try to compete in the women’s division “will be given the choice to go to the man’s division or given a refund.”
Katie Jerkovich of The Daily Wire reported that according to NAGA, “its prior rule was that female competitors were given the choice to fight trans-identifying athletes.”
“However,” Jerkovich continued, “[NAGA] president Kipp Kollar said that when a competitor registered for an event they were only asked if they were male or female with no option to specify whether they identified as transgender.”
As a result, this loophole was exploited by several male entrants who still found a way to compete head-to-head against women.
According to Melissa Koenig of The New York Post, “NAGA suggested that transgender grapplers were likely competing by simply ticking ‘female’ in registration forms and then going unnoticed.”
Writing for the Media Research Center (MRC) Wednesday, Evan Poellinger wrote that a “number of female Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners have been forced to fight transgender competitors in [NAGA] competitions, causing them to quit tournaments in response.”
Poellinger gave several examples, including female competitor Taelor Moore, who “was pitted against James McPike, a transgender biological male who held a 65-pound weight advantage.”
Poellinger further explained that two female entrants in a July NAGA tournament, “Jayden Alexander and Ansleigh Wilk, were put up against biologically-male transgender opponents. Neither Alexander nor Wilk “was given the opportunity to back out of their matches.”
Alexander tearfully withdrew from multiple competitions due to her “horrible and scary” experience.“The simple fact of the matter is that men, signing up in a combat sport to fight women, is absolutely unacceptable. I was absolutely in fight or flight mode,” she said:
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.
“They felt so strong,” Wilk agreed. “I thought I couldn’t take them down.”
“At a NAGA tournament on October 21, Danielle Lenane was forced to grapple with two transgender contestants without any advanced notice,” continued Poellinger.
In addition, Koenig reported that in a NAGA-sanctioned October BJJ tournament held in Georgia, male “grappler Corissa Griffith took home four gold medals in women’s competitions, while another, Cordelia Gregory, placed second.”
NAGA was founded in 1995 and hosts multiple tournaments in the martial arts of submission grappling and BJJ.