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Mackenzie Dern details challenges of female fighters: ‘I lost 50,000 followers’ when announcing pregnancy

Mackenzie Dern has experienced firsthand the challenges of being a woman in the UFC.

Mackenzie Dern knows firsthand how fickle mixed martial arts (MMA) fans can be.

Dern headlines UFC Vegas 39, which will take place inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (Sat., Oct. 9, 2021) via ESPN+, opposite Marina Rodriguez. Ahead of the fight, Dern opened up about the perceptions of being an attractive woman in the fight game.

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HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

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“You always have to prove yourself,” Dern told MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocacao Franca. “You see men, if men are pretty in people’s opinion, men make fun of them, ‘He’s not that good.’ But women, no, they say, ‘Let’s all watch her fight because she’s beautiful.’ We go through that, you have to prove yourself even more.

In fact, Dern noticed a steep decline in her online audience after she announced her pregnancy.

“I’m still trying to grow [my fanbase] among women, but I think that’s coming naturally as I represent myself as mother, wife, and fighter,” she said. “But still, I lost 50,000 followers fast when I announced my pregnancy, and 80,000 total until my next fight, but that has definitely changed. The MMA [community] has more men than women so it’s impossible to have more women than men [as followers].”

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