AC Mack is the first out gay man to ever win a pro wrestling championship.
But the gold he recently put around his finger is worth way more than anything he’s wrapped around his waist.
Mack and fellow pro wrestler Rico Gonzalez got engaged over the weekend in Puerto Rico, with the latter getting down onto one knee. The couple celebrated their special moment at Flamenco Beach.
Pictures on Instagram show the two lovers hugging, kissing and holding hands.
We especially love the pictures of their hands clasping together, symbolizing their unbreakable bond.
Mack, a sensation on the independent wrestling circuit, made his in-ring debut in 2016. The grappler’s career climaxed in January 2022, when he defeated Alex Shelley for the IWTV Independent Wrestling World title in front of a hometown crowd in Georgia.
At the time, it was the biggest win for an out gay man in pro wrestling history. Mack celebrated his landmark victory with a poignant post-match speech, and kiss with Gonzalez.
“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 color of your skin, not with who you like to sleep with,'” he said. “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.”
Fittingly, the final match of Mack’s career was against Gonzalez, and they faced off again in his retirement match in July.
Gonzalez, by the way, is now a champion himself. He’s won the World Wrestling Alliance Title, and recently took home a Midwest territory crown as well.
It’s really cool how Mack’s and Gonzalez’s careers have intersected, and shows pro wrestling is in a more tolerant place. That was apparent over the summer, when fans showered AEW star Anthony Bowens with love during Pride Month.
“He’s gay!,” the crowd shouted.
“If you told me years ago I’d have an arena chanting HE’S GAY at me in the most POSITIVE of ways, I’d say you’re crazy,” wrote Bowens on Instagram. “There’s obviously still progress to be made but I’m proud at how far we’ve come. Happy Pride #AEWRampage”
Around that time, legendary pro wrestler CM Punk delivered a powerful Pride message of his own, holding up a sign that read “Support LGBTQ+ youth.”
But of course, that doesn’t mean the landscape is perfect for LGBTQ+ wrestlers. Bowens, the first out gay pro wrestler to win an AEW championship, still receives his share of hate on social media.
But he recently posted the best clap back.
“If you’re someone making that comment… THIS part of my life isn’t for YOU,” he wrote on Instagram. “It’s for those that can relate to me and the struggles that I have gone through in my life because of it. I didn’t have someone to look up to and now I have the opportunity to be that others. So yes, it DOES matter.”
Mack has also spoken about the importance of representation in the squared circle, as both an out gay and Black man.
“When I debuted in Beyond Wrestling, there was a guy… that hit me up afterward and said, ‘It was really cool to see you. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you come back,'” he told Outsports. “He flat out said, ‘I want to see more Black wrestlers.’ He kept saying that. It was just one guy but seeing that just made my entire experience going to Beyond. We just want to do that on the regular. It’s as simple as that. We don’t want to take anything from anybody. We just want to add to what we already love.”
It’s apparent that Mack and Gonzalez love each other, and aren’t afraid to show the world. They post plenty of adorable couple pics on Instagram, racking up the “likes” and heart emojis.
Speaking of which, we can’t wait to see those wedding pics. Talk about a championship combination.