MMA fighters vow to protect drag queens from right-wing protesters: ‘Allies need to step up’

Johnny Haught and MMA fighters

A group of MMA fighters in the US is offering to step out of the octagon to protect drag queens from right-wing protesters at public drag events.

A drag brunch show, due to be held at Primantis Bros. restaurant, in Wheeling, West Virginia, was cancelled by promoters S&S Productions, on 10 February after a number of “legal threats” towards the restaurant, entertainers, and “even patrons”.

In a post on Facebook, the promoters said they were only two tables away from being sold out and were wanting to show “that a little glitter never hurt anyone”, while supporting the LBGTQ+ community.

In response to the cancellation, Ohio Valley MMA owner Johnny Haught volunteered himself and some of his fighters to work as security if the event was rescheduled.

“I’m sure we can make sure the event stays safe,” he wrote on Facebook.

“We hate bullies around here.”

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‘Ignorance the only motivator’ for drag attacks

Haught tells PinkNews he had offered to act as security because he supports “any kind of expression and freedom”.

“Plus, drag shows are some of the most fun shows ever,” he says.

The overall reaction to the his offer had been “extremely positive”, including having scheduled performer Luna Skye reach out to say thanks.

“It’s shown me a side of my community that I wasn’t sure was there.

“There is way more love than hate in the world.”

Haught felt “ignorance was the only motivator” for hate against drag shows and how it has become a political target among Republicans across the United States.

“The people fighting against drag shows have never been to a drag show. They have no frame of reference for what it is,” he says.

“They do not get that it is just a performance of an artform.”

With ongoing attacks and attempts to pass anti-drag bills in the US, he says people “really need to step up” — particularly LGBTQ+ allies.

“Let these hateful loud mouths know that they are not the majority and we won’t be silent about the hate anymore.”

Drag shows targeted by Republicans

Drag shows have increasingly become political targets for Republicans across the United States — including in West Virginia, where a bill introduced to the state senate in January looks to ban “any tranvestite and/or transgender exposure, performances or display to any minor”.

Tennessee, last week, became the first state to pass a drag ban bill.

The aim of the bill is to prevent “adult-oriented businesses” from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship, including “adult cabaret performances”, which the legislation defines as performances that feature “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest”, The Hill states.

It is still to be enacted by state governor Bill Lee.