When Liz Carmouche steps into the octagon to fight Ronda Rousey for the UFC women's bantamweight belt, it will be a historic moment. Not only will UFC 157 feature the first UFC women's fight, it will also be the first time an openly gay fighter will fight in the UFC.
UFC president Dana White praised Carmouche, an ex-Marine, for coming out.
"There's a lot of gay athletes out there and athletes and actresses. It takes a brave person to come out and admit it because they're always afraid of what its going to do to their career or how people are going to treat them afterwards. I love what she did."
White came under fire in 2010 when he used a gay slur on one of his video blogs. He later apologized. When talking about Carmouche, he addressed his own reputation and shared his thoughts on same-sex marriage.
"I know I have the big ‘homophobe' persona and people think I'm some homophobe. I'm the furthest thing from it. I think it's ridiculous it's 2013 and the government tells two people they can't marry each other. Who is the government to tell two people who say they love each other they can't be married? It's ridiculous."
Though it's not quite 2013, it's encouraging to hear White say not only that he supports Carmouche and same-sex marriage but that he hopes other fighters find the courage to come out, too.
Among the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA, there are no active and openly gay players. Retired athletes, like basketball player John Amaechi and football player Wade Davis, have come out after they stopped playing.
However, athletes like Carmouche show that the tide is turning and athletes are more comfortable with not hiding their sexuality. Openly gay athletes like diver Matthew Mitcham and Natasha Kai have competed in the Olympics. More and more athletes are speaking out in favor of LGBTQ rights.