Tony Khan, Nyla Rose scrutinize Oklahoma athletic commission after AEW issued warning over booking transgender wrestlers

Originally published at Tony Khan, Nyla Rose scrutinize Oklahoma athletic commission after AEW issued warning over booking transgender wrestlers

The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission (OSAC) has received scrutiny from the wrestling community after threatening to punish AEW if they book a transgender woman against a cis-gendered woman again in the future.

OSAC held a meeting this week addressing a late 2023 AEW event where Nyla Rose competed in an ROH match taped in Oklahoma City. The commission took issue with Rose, a trans woman whom they misgendered during the meeting, wrestling a cis-gendered opponent. Because of this, a motion was passed to “warn AEW not to do this again or there will be punitive action made against them,” per meeting minutes obtained by X user stholeary2.

OSAC applications to compete in boxing, kickboxing, and MMA all ask if a competitor had gender reassignment, although the meeting minutes said this was not included in wrestler applications. The board mentioned their hope to update wrestling applications to include the question in the future.

The warning issued by OSAC has caused blowback within wrestling, including AEW’s Tony Khan when asked about the topic by Amy Nemmity of WrestleJoy this week.

“I was disappointed by the commission’s position and by that warning,” said Khan during a media call on Thursday. “I don’t think we did anything wrong. I’m really, really shocked by it. I don’t think there should be discrimination against transgender wrestlers or transgender people at all. They have rights. And to that end, I absolutely stand by Nyla Rose. AEW stands by Nyla Rose and all transgender people who want to play sports. This is wrestling. There was nothing wrong with it.”

Rose has posted online about the OSAC ruling, making note that the athletic commission is placing gendered rules on an act of entertainment: “Don’t worry Oklahoma I’ll find the dastardly Transgender that *checks notes* entertained fans!!” she wrote on social media.

The inclusion of trans athletes in sports has become an increasingly politicized issue in the U.S. over the past few years. Mainly Republican states have put forward rules that limit what leagues trans athletes can compete in, often forcing them to only play against competitors who were assigned the same sex at birth.

In Oklahoma, the parents of any student competing in school athletics are forced to sign a “Biological Sex Affidavit” to confirm that their child is only competing in a league representing the sex they were assigned at birth.

OSAC’s latest meeting seemingly brings the heated debate of trans athletes into professional wrestling, an entertainment form that has a long history of performers from many different sizes, genders, and backgrounds performing against each other in predetermined outcomes.

Khan isn’t the only figure to publicly speak out following OSAC’s warning. Colt Cabana targeted athletic commissions regulating wrestling: “Athletic Commissions for the ART of professional wrestling is one of the biggest scams in our scam of a business,” he said.

Hyan, an independent wrestler who has worked matches for AEW in the past, said she would no longer take bookings in Oklahoma.

TNA wrestlers Gisele Shaw and Jordynne Grace directed their followers toward the contact information of OSAC and mentioned that their next meeting is in July.

Rose mentioned an outpouring of support from within the wrestling community this week: “I appreciate everyone for all the support and love and I am probably dehydrated from all the happy crying,” she said on X.