By Jonathon Van Maren
In 2019, the rapper and Oxford graduate Zuby of Southampton, UK, decided to highlight the ridiculousness of the debate over permitting men who identify as women into female sports. On Twitter, he posted videos of himself at the gym, “destroying” female weight-lifting records—and “identifying as female” as he did so. Zuby was a muscular 32-year-old, but not a professional athlete. Despite that, he broke the women’s dead-lift record of 238 kilograms “without even trying.”
Forty-four-year-old MMA fighter Jake Shields, who has competed on the Rock Welterweight Champion and is a former Strikeforce Champion, wants to make the same point—that allowing men to compete against women is stupid, if not dangerous. He took to Twitter this week to issue a challenge:
Since trans men are real men I would like to challenge the 10 toughest trans men in the world to a fight.
I fight them with no training camp and no rest between each fight.
Let’s go, alphabet people get your 10 best and prove me wrong.
My offer has been updated, I will fight Mike Jackson and 10 trans men.
This is a serious offer so get your team ready
A million views and not a single trans Man has stepped up to accept my challenge.
I’m starting to think they don’t have the b[****] to fight me.
Shields, predictably, has had no takers. Critics might write his challenge off as a stunt, but Shields is making a real point. Just as Zuby could beat the women’s dead-lift record “without even trying,” most people wouldn’t be surprised if Shields could do precisely what he says he can—which is take ten women in a row in a fight (or, as he boasted later, all at once). In the ring, ideology doesn’t matter and biology bites back. Alice Atalanta, a pro-trans female fighter, laid that out clearly in a long post written for Medium titled “I am a Biological Female Fighter Competed Against a Trans Athlete. Here’s What Happened.”