According to an Oct. 3 post from Newsday, Raquel Pennington, a contestant on the current season of "The Ultimate Fighter," opened up about what it's like to be a gay fighter and the struggles she faced telling her family about her sexuality.
"I'm a gay athlete or whatever. I do have a girlfriend," Pennington explained during a confessional segment on Episode 5 of the show. "And I mean when I first came out, my family wasn't very happy. My mom took it the hardest."
Pennington said she got into a bit of a squabble with her mom when she first came out, but that her father was accepting from the start.
"My mom ended up calling my dad, and my dad called me. That's when me and my dad started getting close," Pennington said. "Cuz he's the one that was like 'dude, however you are, I accept it.'
"He started making stupid jokes like 'I always wanted two little boys' and anyways, blah, blah, blah."
Pennington said she went through battles and struggles when she came out, but that didn't stop her from pushing forward.
"You should never care," Pennington said. "You should be able to stand up for yourself and make yourself happy, because you are the one that's important.
"For a while it dragged me and my mom apart, so went through our battles and stuff, but now it's like we're back to normal and stuff. The people who truly care about you are the ones who are always going to be there. When it comes to chasing your dreams and stuff, you should always have that person who supports you, whether it's a guy or girl or whatever."
Pennington is one of just a handful of female athletes in women's MMA to be out and proud. In her honor, here's a look at 10 courageous WMMA athletes who are openly gay.