Fighter Wins Bout, Then Comes Out as First Transgender MMA Competitor (Update: UFC fighter apologized for transphobic comments)

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    Mar 06, 2013 6:57 PM GMT
    fallonfox1.jpg

    CagePotatoOn Saturday, a female fighter named Fallon Fox scored a 39-second knockout against Ericka Newsome at CFA 10 in Coral Gables, Florida, extending her combined amateur/professional MMA record to 5-0, with all wins by first-round stoppage. This wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy, except for two reasons:

    1) Fox just came out publicly as transsexual. She was born a male, and had gender re-assignment surgery in 2006, along with supplemental hormonal therapy. As Loretta Hunt reports, Fox is the first transgender person on record, male or female, to compete in MMA.

    2) On her application for MMA licensure in Florida before the fight, Fox incorrectly claimed that she had been licensed by the California State Athletic Commission earlier this year. According to CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster, Fox’s application was still under review, and the CSAC had only mailed Fox a receipt for her initial $60 application. Fox claims that she didn’t intentionally misrepresent herself to the Florida commission, and believed she had been approved by California. At any rate, Fox didn’t disclose her transgender status on her Florida application because she wasn’t asked to, and none of this was revealed until after she KO’d Newsome with a knee to the face.

    “Our department is currently investigating allegations pertaining to the information provided on [Fox's] application,” wrote Sandi Copes Poreda, Director of Communications for Florida’s Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation. “The Florida State Boxing Commission is in the process of updating the rules for professional MMA events and this topic [of transgender fighter applications] will be included in an upcoming workshop on changes to the administrative rules.”

    While Fox could face some consequences for competing with an ill-gotten license, her current promotional home Championship Fighting Alliance is giving her its full support: “We stand 120,000 percent behind Fallon,” CFA CEO Jorge De La Nova said. “She’s a female. She’s a very sweet girl. There’s a lot of money on the line for her, and she’s performed very well. We’re going to give her a couple of weeks to see how this thing turns out.”

    Fox had been scheduled to compete on April 20th in the quarterfinals of CFA’s ongoing eight-woman featherweight tournament, but that event has temporarily been put on hold.

    As Fox said in a new interview with OutSports, “These past six years, people have seen me as a woman, not a transsexual. People in the gym, people I train with, it’s been great, it’s been awesome. I’m just a woman to them. I don’t want that to go away. It’s unfortunate that it has to…I’m technically, legally, physically and mentally female. Everything about me is female.”

    Check out the preview for an upcoming documentary about Fox below, and let us know what you think: Does Fallon deserve equal treatment as a woman in the sport, even if she wasn’t born that way? Or does being transgender constitute an unfair competitive advantage?


    Outsports Video:



    (Aside: Congrats to Outsports for the move to SB Nation)
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    Mar 06, 2013 7:00 PM GMT
    543055_395518253867328_1192456982_n_medi

    http://www.outsports.com/2013/3/5/4068840/fallon-fox-trans-pro-mma-fighter

    OutSports"For years I've known at some point it's very likely the shoe would drop," Fox told Outsports in a phone interview Tuesday. "Maybe someone would guess that I'm trans. Maybe they would know me from my life before I transitioned. I've been waiting for that phone call to happen. And Saturday night, it happened."

    Fox was at dinner celebrating a victory when a call came through. It was from a reporter who asked probing questions that clearly lead to one conclusion: The reporter knew Fox's secret past. Within 48 hours she got a call from a former trainer who had been interviewed by the same reporter with the same questions. The secret of Fallon Fox was about to come out.

    "These past six years, people have seen me as a woman, not a transsexual," she said. "People in the gym, people I train with, it's been great, it's been awesome. I'm just a woman to them. I don't want that to go away. It's unfortunate that it has to."


    cropped-pbgw212.jpg

    OutSportsTen years ago, Fox told her parents that she felt like she was born in the wrong body. Her mother rejected the news. Her father told her she was actually a confused gay man. Fox insisted that she wasn't gay, and that she was mostly attracted to other women. Her father was unrelenting and put her in gay-conversion therapy. There she was treated by a gay-conversion therapist who tried to convince Fox that she was a gay man so that he could turn her into a straight man.

    When the therapy sessions finally ended, Fox decided to start her sexual transition. She soon began hormone therapy that she has now been on for 10 years. Six years ago, she had gender reassignment surgery.

    "For the longest time, my mother didn't want anything to do with me," Fox said. "I wasn't even allowed to come into her house or show up at her door. But as the years went on, they both started coming around a little bit."

    That's taken a turn for the worse recently. Fox has not spoken to either of her parents in almost two years.
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    Mar 06, 2013 11:48 PM GMT
    *cough*
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    Mar 07, 2013 3:59 PM GMT
    *burp*
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    Mar 07, 2013 4:03 PM GMT
    There's a lot of fuss about "bone density" as an inherent advantage for Fox, but if that was a legitimate concern, the fighting organizations would be measuring stuff like that already as a precursor to matchups, regardless of who's fighting who. She's just fighting tomato cans right now, and her current promoters are fully supportive, so we'll see where it goes.
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    Mar 07, 2013 11:08 PM GMT
    *belch*
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    Mar 08, 2013 1:55 AM GMT
    *scratch*
  • metatextual

    Posts: 774

    Mar 08, 2013 1:58 AM GMT
    it is interesting because that south african runner who was born a hemaphrodite had difficulty competing in races because of the international track and field association.

    it does seem to be an inherent advantage just because her hormone levels of testosterone are probably higher than most females, even after treatment...
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    Mar 08, 2013 2:08 AM GMT
    metatextual saidit is interesting because that south african runner who was born a hemaphrodite had difficulty competing in races because of the international track and field association.

    it does seem to be an inherent advantage just because her hormone levels of testosterone are probably higher than most females, even after treatment...


    Oh yes, I remember her. There was a huge deal over her need to "prove" her gender to the athletic authorities... of course, only AFTER she won a race. I have to go back and look up what happened with her.

    EDIT: Here she was, Caster Semenya. She wound up carrying the flag for SA in the London Olympics last year, and got a silver in the 800m.

    http://rt.com/sport/alleged-transgender-runner-returns/

    What I found fascinating was after all the scientific/medical clearances she had to go through, all the bio-technical analyses, it wasn't enough for some opponents, who relied on the good ol' eye test.

    Russia Today2009 European Indoor Championships bronze medalist Elissa Piccione has called Semenya "a man," while the Russian gold medalist in that event, Maria Savinova, was quoted as saying "just look at her."


    I doubt Fox will have to deal with the "eye test" issue from opponents, just whether the effects of her treatments create that inherent advantage you talked about. But the more she wins, the more foes will use her transgender status as an excuse to duck bouts.

    It could work against her in the octagon as well, if certain movements in her musculature are slower or require more energy expenditure than her competitors, so it can be a wash. She starts losing and people will stop caring. Kind of a darned-if-you-do deal.**

    If barely-heavyweight guys can have legitimate sanctioned bouts with the likes of George Foreman and Butterbean, it's hard to imagine how whatever advantages she possesses post-treatment amount to much more than reach or height, inasmuch as such 'advantages' are directly related to winning.

    **EDIT x2: Here's a possible case of "Winner's Remorse" from Semenya, accused of tanking a race deliberately last year.

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/caster-semenya-controversial-south-african-runner-accused-tanking-143232943.html

    Of course, (a) deliberately losing a race, and (b) saying, "Here's my arm, why don't you armbar me and I'll tap?" or "Here's my jaw, why don't you clock it?" are two different things.
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    Mar 19, 2013 5:21 PM GMT


    I've been waiting for Joe Rogan to unleash his mouth on this, and he doesn't disappoint!

    http://www.tmz.com#ixzz2O0VDu6Jq

    TMZJoe Rogan -- the voice of the UFC -- is taking a stand on transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox ... saying there's "no f**king way" she should be allowed to get in the ring with a natural woman.

    Rogan unloaded on Fox during his podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience" -- saying, "She calls herself a woman but ... I tend to disagree."

    He continues, "She used to be a man ... but now she has had, she's a transgender which is (the) official term that means you've gone through it, right? And she wants to be able to fight women in MMA. I say no f**king way."

    "I say if you had a d*ck at one point in time, you also have all the bone structure that comes with having a d*ck. You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints. You're a f**king man. That's a man, OK?"

    "I don't care if you don't have a d*ck any more," Rogan added ... "You're a man without a d*ck."


    Bone structure... so that's why we call 'em boners! icon_lol.gif

    Faux backtracking in 3, 2, 1...
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    Mar 26, 2013 11:44 AM GMT
    And what did you do to build up your "bone density" and "muscle fibers", Hulkster? Oh, yeah. "Vitamins, brudder!" icon_wink.gif

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/hulk-hogan-fallon-fox-fight_n_2949075.html

    HuffPoHulk Hogan has sounded off on the recent controversy surrounding mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Fallon Fox, who came out as transgender earlier this month.

    The wrestler, actor and TV personality told TMZ he'd be willing to fight Fox. "I'll whip her...I mean, I'll whip him," Hogan said. "I'll whip her...I'm confused."
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    Apr 17, 2013 3:32 PM GMT
    Kind of old news from a couple weeks ago, but Fallon's become the Third Rail that some fighters can't help kicking:

    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/04/ufc-suspends-matt-mitrione-indefinitely-over-transphobic-remarks-directed-at-fallon-fox/

    LGBTQ NationThe Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has suspended indefinitely heavyweight Matt Mitrione, saying it was “appalled” by comments he made about transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter Fallon Fox...

    “He’s chromosomally a man,” said Mitrione.

    “He had a gender change, not a sex change. He’s still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That’s a couple years younger than I am. He’s a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That’s ridiculous.

    “That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,”
    he added.

    “And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting. You should be embarrassed yourself. And the fact that Florida licensed him because California licensed him or whoever the hell did it, it’s an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that.

    “The woman that’s fighting him, props to you. I hope you beat his ass, and I hope he gets blackballed and never fights again, because that’s disgusting and I’m appalled by that.”​


    Good on the UFC, I guess, but it still comes across as hollow given the comments from "Voice of the UFC" Joe Rogan went unabated by the organization.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Apr 17, 2013 3:58 PM GMT
    Up to unlikely details:
    She has no business fighting in the ring with physiologically/genetically female women.
    Women's/Men's leagues isn't about "gender identity" it's about deep physiological differences and a level playing field.

    Even with hormone therapy it is very unlikely for that playing field to be level with other women at her weight class. (I'm always open to strong fact based arguments against this, of course.)

    I'm all for people augmenting themselves as they like.
    But just like you can't choose to cut-off your legs and replace them with bionics and expect to compete against regular runners, you can't start male, have surgery and some hormone supps and then fight females.


    At best: you could get some good scientists together and figure out a wedight modifier for her -- so she has to fight people 1.n times her weight -- but if we're going to do that we might as well just get rid of of Male/Female leagues at all.


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    Oct 11, 2013 2:14 PM GMT
    dayumm saidKind of old news from a couple weeks ago, but Fallon's become the Third Rail that some fighters can't help kicking:

    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/04/ufc-suspends-matt-mitrione-indefinitely-over-transphobic-remarks-directed-at-fallon-fox/

    LGBTQ NationThe Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has suspended indefinitely heavyweight Matt Mitrione, saying it was “appalled” by comments he made about transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter Fallon Fox...

    “He’s chromosomally a man,” said Mitrione.

    “He had a gender change, not a sex change. He’s still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That’s a couple years younger than I am. He’s a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That’s ridiculous.

    “That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,”
    he added.

    “And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting. You should be embarrassed yourself. And the fact that Florida licensed him because California licensed him or whoever the hell did it, it’s an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that.

    “The woman that’s fighting him, props to you. I hope you beat his ass, and I hope he gets blackballed and never fights again, because that’s disgusting and I’m appalled by that.”​


    Good on the UFC, I guess, but it still comes across as hollow given the comments from "Voice of the UFC" Joe Rogan went unabated by the organization.


    http://www.outsports.com/2013/9/18/4743334/ufc-fighter-matt-mitrione-regrets-transphobic-rant-against-fallon-fox

    OutsportsReaction was swift. He was suspended by the UFC and fined an undisclosed – but what was called a "substantial" – amount, and ordered into sensitivity training. The UFC released a statement saying it was "appalled by the transphobic comments," calling what the fighter said "offensive and hurtful" and adding that they "represented a significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct." In the same statement, Mitrione also apologized and called his words "ugly, rude and inappropriate."

    In a wide-ranging interview with Outsports, Mitrione reiterated his remorse over what he said about Fox.

    "I'm sorry for using the words when I spoke off the cuff. … I spoke freely and I made a mess," Mitrione said. "I made a fool of myself. I spoke really poorly and I had to answer for that."

    Mitrione said that he felt strongly at the time that Fox should have disclosed to her opponents that she had been born a man, but that his choice of words had been "demeaning" and "brutal." "Everyone has a right to an opinion, but the way you state it and the place you state it needs to be appropriate and that's where I stepped over the line," he said.

    At the time of his April remarks, it had just been disclosed that Fox was transgender, and there was a debate in MMA circles about whether she needed to have revealed that to opponents. She responded that she was under no obligation to disclose her transgender status and noted that her Illinois drivers' license labeled her female. Fox added that she had 10 years of hormone therapy and underwent gender-reassignment surgery six years ago, negating any advantage she had from being born in a male body. She was also cleared of allegations she had lied in applying for a license to fight in Florida and allowed to compete there in May.

    Months later, Mitrione explained why he felt that Fox should have disclosed her status. "This isn't a situation where I have a problem with Fallon Fox being allowed to fight. The problem I had was it was not disclosed initially and people fought Fallon, fought her, not knowing she used to be a man. That was what my issue was. To me that was a completely uneven playing field."

    What he feels sorry about is the personal and derogatory words he used in describing Fox. "She's a human being," he said, adding he could see why what he said was wrong. "I have an opinion on that and I think my opinion is valid, but the way I expressed my opinion was inappropriate," he said.

    I shifted gears in my interview with Mitrione and learned that he has a gay cousin in Florida he is very close with, and that he would have no problem fighting or partnering with an openly gay UFC fighter. His cousin Guy is a host at Florida gay clubs who goes by "Lady Guy." It was under the "Lady Guy" persona that I was sent his comment:

    "Lady Guy and Matt Mitrione are cousins. That’s right, girl! That big UFC macho man and the lovely and delicate Lady Guy are related. Matt has never, ever said anything to Lady Guy or even in front of Lady Guy in any way homophobic, derogatory or demeaning to the GLBT community. Although Lady Guy could never condone name-calling under any circumstances, she believes that Cousin Matt made a very poor choice of words [about Fox] that does not reflect his feelings or beliefs."

    Mitrione and his cousin are volunteers at the Pride Center at Equality Park in Fort Lauderdale. He has also teamed up with bisexual MMA fighter Jessica Aguilar to give lessons at the center and speak about belonging. Two years ago, Mitrione visited Toronto with other UFC fighters as part of an anti-bullying campaign.

    "Whether you like boys or girls and whether you're a boy or girl, it makes no difference. Everybody has their troubles," Mitrione said. "Whether they get bullied for being a nerd or get bullied for being gay or get bullied for being a dumb jock ... everybody has things they have to overcome."

    Despite playing college football at Purdue (he and then-Boilermaker teammate and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees remain close) and briefly for two NFL teams, Mitrione said he knows what it's like to be picked on as a child.

    "A large portion of my bit when I speak to people is that I was bullied for being a dumb jock," he said. "I had a learning disability, didn't pick up on things quickly and I was blessed enough to be athletic and help me to get through some situations where I could have found myself in a quagmire of nothing good."

    Mitrione also expressed total support for any UFC fighter who came out publicly as gay.

    "I would have absolutely no problem at all if there was an openly gay fighter in the UFC," he said. "It's so sad and depressing that this is a subject of conversation. Who cares? If you like boys or girls, who cares? I'm not gonna become gay because I'm working on you or from working with you, or boxing or kicking, it makes no difference. This small-minded perception of antiquated thoughts is incredible to me.

    "I would fight somebody who's gay, I would be teammates and partners, I would [work their] corner, I couldn't care less. And the fact that it still affects people blows my mind. It would be rather naive to say that homo
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    Oct 11, 2013 2:17 PM GMT
    And Fallon accepts Mitrione's apology.

    OutsportsI just read Matt Mitrione's apology. Reading about his past I empathize with him, and it explains a lot. I can also understand his possible confusion. Perhaps he has never met any fully transitioned women. Perhaps seeing his gay cousin going back and forth in drag muddied the waters in understanding who and what I am. I am not gay (I am lesbian). I am a transsexual woman, which is different both mentally and physically from gay men (including his cousin). It's a completely different thing.

    I also believe that he was unaware that I listed my medical history to the boxing commissions when they asked me, and that I did not lie on my license as the rumors suggested. I'm sure that may have fueled him.

    He made little mention of transsexual women in his apology. However, he did apologize for his words. So, it's a very good start. He will never know the pain it caused me to hear him say what he said, or comments of the supporters of his rant. But, it feels good to know that he has been thinking about it, that he is remorseful, and that he came around to an attitude of respect. It really does give me hope for our sport. He had a dark cloud hanging over his head in my mind. But, it's starting to dissipate. I hope it changes like that in the minds of others.

    Apology accepted, Matt. Thank you for being strong enough to come forth with this. Continue fighting, and kick ass!