AC Mack makes history as first openly gay pro wrestling world champion

Mack defeated competitor Alex Shelley to win the IWTV Independent Wrestling World Championship.

A wrestler, AC Mack, holds a championship belt and speaks into a mic
Image: AC Mack via Instagram

AC Mack has carved his name into the history books of pro wrestling by becoming the first openly gay man to take home a world championship.

Following his win, the American professional wrestler told his fans, “I started wrestling in 2016. And plenty of people told me, ‘You ain’t gonna never make it out of this State. Not with the way you look, not with the colour of your skin, not with who you like to sleep with.’”

He continued, “They dubbed me ‘Georgia’s finest’. Don’t clap for that, because I am so much more. For those of you who still don’t understand how big of a deal this is- we did the research. We found out that now AC Mack goes down in the history books, not just the indies, not just the major leagues, not Japan, not anything, all of pro wrestling now has its first openly gay male world champion.”

The world of wrestling has certainly had its allies, but this is a huge moment for LGBTQ+ inclusion and visibility in the world of sports. 29 year-old Mack defeated Alex Shelley for the IWTV Independent Wrestling World title to become the first openly gay man to win a title. Previous out LGBTQ+ champions in the sport include Paige, Sandy Parker, Nyla Rose, Susan Green and Trish Adora.

After his win, Mack kissed his partner, fellow pro wrestler Rico Gonzalez, in front of all those gathered.

Prior to the championship match, Mack spoke with the Outsports LGBT In The Ring podcast about the possibility of being the first openly gay male champion. He shared, “I just assumed ‘Oh, there’s been somebody. There’s got to have been.’ But I did look. It just blew my mind.”

He continued, “It’s such a responsibility, you know? You automatically think I have to represent XYZ or I have to do this, I have to do that. It’s a lot of pressure. You don’t want to put the pressure on yourself, but it’s kind of inevitable.”

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