'It is what it is’: masculinity, homosexuality, and inclusive discourse in mixed martial arts

Alex Channon, Christopher Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we make use of inclusive masculinity theory to explore online media representations of male homosexuality and masculinity within the increasingly popular combat sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Adopting a case-study approach, we discuss narratives constructed around one aspirational male MMA fighter, Dakota Cochrane, whose history of having participated in gay pornography became a major talking point on a number of MMA ‘fanzine’/‘community’ websites during early 2012. While these narratives attempted to discursively ‘rescue’ Cochrane’s supposedly threatened masculinity, highlighting both his ‘true’ heterosexuality and his prodigious fighting abilities, they also simultaneously celebrated the acceptance of homosexual men within the sport which Cochrane’s case implied. Thus, we suggest that these media representations of homosexuality and masculinity within MMA are indicative of declining cultural homophobia and homohysteria, and an inclusive vision of masculinity, as previously described by proponents of inclusive masculinity theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-956
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Homosexuality, 2015 available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00918369.2015.1008280


  • combat sports
  • homophobia
  • inclusion
  • masculinities
  • mixed martial arts
  • netography
  • pornography
  • UFC


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