With her victory at UFC 200 last weekend, Brazilian fighter Amanda Nunes became the first openly gay Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter to win a title.
“It’s amazing,” she told reporters who asked what it was like to be the UFC’s first openly gay champion.
“The most important thing is that I’m so happy with my life.”
After her first round win at UFC 200, the 28-year-old Brazilian fighter claimed the women’s bantamweight title and immediately credited her girlfriend of four years, Nina Ansaroff, who fights in the UFC women’s straw-weight division.
“Nina means everything to me. This girl, she helps me with everything… I love her,” Nunes said.
“She is the best training partner I’ve ever had. This girl has so many talents… She’s going to be the next UFC champion. I mean it.”
“It is huge,” Ansaroff agreed after her partner’s triumph.
“Not so much for us or the fact we are trying to get recognition as a gay couple, but for the human race. People are people. Treat everybody the same.”
UFC spokesperson Dave Sholler said: “To have our very first openly gay champion shows you how far this sport has come.”
“Amanda is an incredible ambassador. Having Amanda carry the flag for the gay community is a seminal moment for our sport,” he said.
Although UFC president Dana White said in 2011 that he hoped that any gay UFC fighters would feel empowered and safe enough to come out, few have.
The company recently launched an initiative called “We Are All Fighters,” aimed at promoting diversity and to raise money for certain LGBTQ community organisations.
UFC senior executive Lawrence Epstein said: “As friends and allies of the LGBTQ community, our hope is to raise awareness and help support community groups such as the LGBTQ Centre that directly impact LGBTQ individuals.”