Today a peculiar event is about to take place. UFC veteran Henrique Frankenstein da Silva will compete in Mr Cage 34 in Brazil.
His opponent will be a transgender woman called Anne Veriato.
Veriato is 21 and has been training and competing in jiu jitsu since she was 7.
”I’ve been fighting jiu-jitsu for years, and I wanted to do something different,” Veriato told MMA Fighting. “A lot of people in my team fight MMA already, and I wanted to do it as well.”
”When I entered the mat to compete, they always thought I was in the wrong category, asked for documents and everything,” she said. “My opponents and their teams always said ‘You’re fighting her? Ok, this is going to be easy.’ Every time I won, they would come up to me and apologize. I kept competing and winning tournaments, and people started to respect me.”
”It was a bit hard for people to get used to it in the gym,” she said. “I left the gym for a while and when I came back, no one recognized me. It’s all good now because they were used to it, but it was different in tournaments.”
”This [fighter] is a phenom in jiu-jitsu, and you look at [her], it’s a woman,” promoter for MR Cage told MMA Fighting. “They 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.’”
”It’s only fair to fight men,” Veriato said. “It never crossed my mind to fight a woman because I think I’m too good. If I beat men my entire career, I can still beat them despite the hormone process. I only know that I’m good after I beat men. That’s what makes me happy and hungrier to train. I don’t think it’s fair to fight women.”