The North American Grappling Association (NAGA) has banned “male-to-female” transgender athletes from competing against women in Brazilian jiu-jitsu matches.
The decision was made to prioritize fairness for female competitors and to address concerns raised by biological female athletes.
NAGA’s president cited the potential for injury and the effects of male puberty as reasons for the exclusion.
North American Grappling Association (NAGA) President Kip Kollar said, “Due to the legacy effects of being born male through puberty, in parallel with the policy of FINA (the world governing body for swimming), World Rugby, and numerous other global sports organizations, male-to-female transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty are excluded from competing in the female division at NAGA events.”
He added, “This is position is of course even more important given the heightened potential for injury in grappling.”
Female fighter Ansleigh Wilk claimed she went into “panic mode” upon seeing her transgender competitor.
The league acknowledged a loophole in its registration system and requested changes to allow transgender athletes to declare their status.
NAGA stated that they will continue to review their position based on scientific evidence and prioritize the integrity of the female category in athletics.
Wilk claimed, “They felt so strong, I was like, ‘Oh my God’ … I thought I couldn’t take them down.”
Kollar said, “The registration system used by most grappling events including NAGA, Smoothcomp, unfortunately only allows users to choose between male and female genders when registering. It does not provide an option to register as a transgender. Ideally, there should be an option in the registration to declare yourself as transgender. We have requested that this change be made in short order.”
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