Shad Smith: A Portrait of a Gay MMA Fighter

Shad is the first openly gay mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. From the New York Times:

I asked Smith why he spent so much of his youth looking for trouble. I expected some sort of clich├ęd, though possibly true, explanation — a difficult childhood or a Napoleon complex. What I didn’t expect him to say was, “You know, bro, the sexual-preference thing.”

Smith is gay, and I know of no other professional fighter who is openly so. “I was always scared that my mom and dad would find out and wouldn’t like me, and my brothers wouldn’t like me,” he said. “I was petrified, because I didn’t want anyone to find out. And I would try to be the toughest person around. That way, no one would suspect, no one would ever say it, no one would think it.”
His gayness and his boyfriend are accepted by his family. More from the New York Times:
We drove back to Smith’s modest-but-roomy single-story home, which he shares with his boyfriend. Recently, his parents, one of his brothers and a niece moved in — despite Smith’s adolescent fears, his family seems now to fully accept his sexual orientation. We walked into the green-carpeted den, decorated festively with a Christmas tree and other holiday knickknacks. Smith’s father, in pajama bottoms and shirtless, was sitting in an armchair in front of the television, watching football.

Smith’s boyfriend, Jesse Empey, also joined us. Younger than Smith, Empey has an angular face and dark features and looks a little like Keanu Reeves. He’s a makeup artist and used to live in New York, and he met Smith through a mutual friend.
Great for Shad for coming out :-)

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