Tony Khan responds to AEW receiving warning for allowing Nyla Rose to compete in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission says AEW violated a bill banning transgender women from competing against cisgender women
Nyla Rose Marina Shafir.png
Nyla Rose Marina Shafir.png /

The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission (OSAC) has issued a warning to AEW for allowing Nyla Rose compete in their state. They argue that by wrestling a match, Rose violated a 2021 bill that prevents transgender women from competiting against cisgender women.

On December 20, 2023, AEW held a live episode of Dynamite as well as a taping for episode 44 of ROH's Honor Club. Nyla Rose wrestled Alejandra Lion in a match that lasted two minutes.

The initial report about AEW potentially facing action came from Real Rassslin. On Wednesday, Sean O'Leary obtained the minutes from the OSAC's January meeting. They repeatedly misgender Rose. "OSAC had no idea as the wrestler had filled his [Nyla Rose] wrestling license application out as female." The minutes also revealed that the OSAC was tipped off "by a local wrestling organization that had previously done the same thing."

It was decided at the meeting to do "what they did with the previous organization." Dr. Larry Lovelace made a motion to warn AEW and there would be punitive action if they violated the bill again. The rest of the committee voted "aye" (yes).

Overwhelming support for Nyla Rose

Once word began to spread about the OSAC's decision, wrestlers, media, and fans alike took to social media to support "The Native Beast".

Some wrestlers used words we can't publish here, so here are some of the G-rated responses from her co-workers.

Rose's opponent that night posted about the OSAC's decision being "heartbreaking". She calls Rose one the safest and sweetest wrestlers she's been in the ring with.

Rose made several social media posts about the situation. She wants to know who tipped off the OSAC and said she'll find the "dastardly Transgender that *checks notes* entertained fans!!!"

She then lamented that the situation made her a babyface and now she can't do evil things.

Rose thanked everyone for all of the love and support.

Tony Khan responds

During Thursday's media call, Tony Khan was asked about the warning that was given to AEW.

"I was really surprised by this. It was not something I was expecting and of course, I was disappointed by the commission's position and by that warning. I don't think we did anything wrong. I'm really, really disappointed, shocked by it. I don't think there should be discrimination against transgender wrestlers or transgender people at all and, you know, they have rights and to that end, I absolutely stand by Nyla Rose. AEW stands behind Nyla Rose and all transgender people who want to play sports and this is wrestling."

Tony Khan

Khan went on to say how much he loves Rose personally and professionally. She was the second AEW Women's Champion and "she's a great athlete." Rose has done a lot for the community and "has a great heart." He also talked about how much the locker room loves Rose.

"She deserves the same chances as everybody else. And if the AEW locker room, which consists of people from all over the world, all kinds of different backgrounds, all different beliefs, if everybody in the locker room can embrace Nyla, I would hope that the Oklahoma Commission could do the same thing."

I had the opportunity to ask Khan if AEW will continue to run in Oklahoma or other states that ban transgender athletes and if they do run in these states, will Rose be booked and risk whatever fines they may impose on AEW?

"All I can say is we have a great plan for our shows in 2024 and 2025. We've got a great new team working on routing and to take all of this into consideration, I definitely am treating this as a developing story. It was kind of surprised by this, but definitely wanted to do our best to support the fans across America and all over the world and bring AEW wrestling everywhere. "

"We have great fans. We have great fans in Oklahoma that are important to us and great fans all over the country. And so we'll do anything we can to support those fans. So it's something we're going to have to think about, but you know, it's a fair question. Thanks for asking. Thank you."

Following the media call, Rose posted thanks to Khan and AEW.

Sadly in 2024, this is a situation that transgender atheltes and the companies that employ them are having to deal with. Unfortunately, this is something that could happen in more and more states, especially with this being an election year.

AEW is going to have to seriously consider what running in these states means. While fans should not be punished for what their lawmakers impose, the biggest way to push back against these archaic bans is not to have shows in these states until they're lifted. However, some of these lawmakers will simply not care if a wrestling promotion doesn't run shows in their states.

This situation is far from over and all eyes will be on AEW and other promotions to see how they handle it.