The newly crowned PFL women’s lightweight champion finds herself at the height of her profession overnight. However, there are some immediate drawbacks to the heightened attention. Despite Larissa Pacheco’s victory over Kayla Harrison last Friday, which earned her $1,000,000 and her largest victory to date, she received some homophobic insults from supporters.
Although Pacheco has been open about her sexual orientation for quite some time, she has received a significant increase in hostile comments on her Instagram account following her recent victory.
The Brazilian told Combate that she tries not to care about discrimination, but that it affects her the most when she isn’t given credit for being a good martial artist. As far as Pacheco is concerned, the public is merely utilizing her sexuality to discount her skills as a sportsperson.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Pacheco said.
“It gets to a point where it really pisses you off. I don’t care. I never did. It doesn’t affect my life in any way, but it’s ridiculous to see that people go out of their way on social media to undermine your work. I was more upset that they undermined my abilities as an athlete than my appearance. I couldn’t care less. I’m comfortable with myself. They do that to bother you. The worst part is that it comes from other Brazilians, people who should be rooting for us to win. They should be able to see my fighting abilities and not just my appearance or sexual orientation,”
“It’s not just in the LGBT community,” Larissa said.
“I think that prejudice just shows how evil and dirty people are. All we want is our space. I don’t want to be known for my sexual orientation. I want to be known for my qualities. We need to stop judging people on that. We have to hire people based on their abilities to do the work with quality, and I do. I want be recognized for that. What I do outside of that is nobody’s business but my own.”