Kayla Harrison, who is not trans, pictured in the ring in November 2023 at the PFL championships. She is wearing a purple tank top.

Kayla Harrison prepares to face Aspen Ladd during the 2023 PFL Championships at The Anthem in Washington, DC. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Online conspiracy theorists have falsely “accused” Kayla Harrison of being trans after she easily beat fellow American professional mixed martial artist Holly Holm at UFC 300.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion company, and UFC 300 was held on 13 April. Harrison is a multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion judoka who currently competes in the Women’s Bantamweight UFC division.

After dominating UFC veteran Holm on the ground, Harrison earned a victory by submission in the second round itself, reports TheSportsRush.com.

It was Kayla Harrison’s UFC debut, whereas Holly Holm is a veteran mixed martial artist and considered one of the MMA “greats”. After the win, Harrison, who is cisgender, faced a “transvestigation” by online bigots: something that become all-too-common in recent years.

The term transvestigating – a mash-up of trans and investigating – refers to harmful conspiracy theories that falsely claim individuals, typically women, are transgender and are hiding their “true” gender identity.

Celebrities, political figures and professional athletes have all been “accused” of being trans with no evidence other than the conspiracy theorists’ own warped, often misogynistic, view of femininity and gender.

One troll tweeted: “Kayla Harrison is a Trans Female and should fight Angel Reese”. Angel Reese is an American college basketball player.

Others commented on her physical appearance, with one saying: “she is either trans or on ‘roids” (steroids).

Previously, on 10 April, another misinformation account falsely tweeted: “Per ESPN: UFC300 will be the first event in UFC history to feature a trans athlete compete in the Octagon. Kayla Harrison formerly known as ‘Kyle’ will be making her debut against veteran Holly Holm.”

This is completely fabricated. Twitter/X’s misinformation issue has been labelled as “disastrous” in recent months. Reset Australia reported in September 2023 that a feature allowing users to report misinformation was quietly dropped in certain regions of the world.

It described the move as “extremely concerning [and] disastrous” for Australian electoral integrity.

Kayla Harrison also faced extreme misogyny from a Russian reporter at a Q&A last month, Arman Tsarukyan, an Armenian professional mixed martial artist was asked (in Russian) how many times he would “f**k” Harrison if he could. Tsarukyan replied (again in Russian): “a few times”.


One fan took to Reddit to slam the question, writing: “This is the type of stuff that gives the MMA Community a bad name and why professional MMA will never be taken seriously among a large portion of sports fans.

“It’s a shame that despite how much this sport has grown in recent years, that this behavior is still tolerated and accepted.”