Fallon Fox was born a man, but switched genders years ago. Fallon Fox is also a fighter who competes in the Florida-based regional promotion Championship Fighting Alliance, and because she throws down with women – and because people recoil at the idea that someone who was once physically and hormonally a man is getting in the cage and knocking females out – many are freaking. Sure, when it comes to transgendered mixed martial artists, we don’t have a big data sample to base our opinions on. But still, when it comes to opinions, just about everyone has one.
To that end, I asked the writers across the Rebellion Media network of MMA blogs what they thought of Fox and the prospect of her beating on women. Here’s what they had to say (and feel free to agree or disagree in the “comments”):
“I feel as though the precedent has been set with previous sports ruling that a transgender is allowed to compete against the sex they currently are. While I personally feel it is a very sensitive subject when it comes to MMA, if a transgender athlete has completely changed their body to that of a new sex, they should be allowed. However, they must be completely tested and approved by a medical staff to do so.”
John Petit, Fighters.com:
“This has to be an issue decided by medical science. If a large group of doctors determine she is to be considered 100% a female- than I have no problem at all with Fallon Fox fighting. However, if they can’t all come to that agreement then she has to respect the decision of the panel. The criteria to be a woman mma fighter says you have to be a female, if a diverse panel of medically qualified physicians says she meets that standard, that’s enough for me. There is a chance that this turns into a hot button issue discussion on peoples opinion on the LBGT communities, but that is a road people shouldn’t go down, as it has nothing to do with the real question. Does she meet the requirements to be a woman MMA combatant? The onus is upon Fallon Fox to prove she meets those requirements.”
“In a sport like MMA where gross mismatches can be found with relative commonality, and heavyweights often differ in size by 20-30 pounds, I don’t have a problem with Fox fighting females given that all parties are aware of her background. Hell, women spar/grapple with full-fledged men in the gym on a daily basis. Of course, from what I understand, Fox has undergone enough treatment both surgically and hormonally to be considered female enough to compete in other sports as a woman, plus she’s apparently viewed as female in legal terms. As such, why prevent her from making a living so long as her opponent is comfortable with the situation?”
Jake Berezansky, MMAConvert:
“I’m going to have to say yeah sure why not? I mean if she/he wants to compete, and [CFA] is cool with it, let it happen. If she/he can compete as a woman in the Olympics, it’s hard to say she/he can’t in MMA. I’d say it’s worth noting any of the natural-born women Fox may face should have a de facto right to decline a fight with her/him without any negative repercussion, though. I’d say this has been turned into a bigger deal than it ever needed to be, also. You have to wonder if there’s any shock value being played here, and I’m sure [CFA] hates getting some extra attention.”
Chris Leslie, MMAFrenzy:
“While it may seem counterintuitive, a transgendered fighter is actually at somewhat of a disadvantage in the sport of MMA. The process of gender reassignment surgery is a long one that involves hormone therapy that actually negates any strength advantage that Fox may have had over time. The Olympics allow for transgendered athletes to compete in their newly assigned genders, albeit with strict guidelines. So as long as the athlete can pass the testing administered by the commissions and other agencies, there is little reason to not allow the fighter to fight.”
Ben Bieker, CagedInsider:
“In the case of Fallon Fox, in my opinion, I believe that it could dangerous for Fox to be in the cage with other female fighters. While I am not an expert on the science and process it takes to make a male into a female through surgery or chemicals, it seems that spending life as a male well into your 30’s would give you some physical advantage over women. Fox has had many years of increased testosterone, muscle, and other advantages that come from being a male athlete. The gender reassignment was a personal choice of Fox, and if it affects her dream of being a MMA fighter than that is part of the sacrifice made when Fox decided to become a woman.”
Casey Hodgin, MMALinker:
“I think she should fight against females. It doesn’t matter what she was, if the surgery and procedure was done correctly she should be a female. I guess you should take into consideration testosterone levels. If her testosterone is normal for a female, let her fight. However, if it’s above the norm, maybe have her take some supplements? Or maybe should she shouldn’t even be cleared to fight if she’s walking around with twice as much testosterone as all the other female fighters. That’s my take on it, if her testosterone levels are in check, let her fight women.”
“There are certain athletic advantages that men have that women simply don’t. Their testosterone levels are higher which makes their bodies stronger than women. This is simply a biological fact. However, as long as Fallon Fox is able to pass all of her tests for both performing enhancing drugs and testosterone levels, there is no reason she can’t compete against women. Most transgenders actually have lower testosterone levels than their female competitors. If this were a case where Fox was anatomically a man who simply identified as a woman, this would be a different story. But modern medicine has developed testosterone blockers and estrogen enhancers which allows he body to mimic her female counterparts. Recently we’ve seen a woman kicker invited to a regional scouting combine for the NFL; in my hypothetical world, all athletic competition would be gender neutral. But as it is currently, sports are divided by gender. As long as Fox’s levels of testosterone and estrogen are within the normal range, she should be allowed to compete against women.”
Jesse Denis, MMAFrenzy:
“The arguments over Fallon Fox’s licensure are absolutely heinous.
The core problem lies in the fact that this is the combat sports community and there is a fair bit of sexism, homophobia, etc… going around. The fact is that Fox has been a woman for nearly seven years, despite being born a man.
The very landscape of MMA today sees media, fighters, and promoters alike lashing out at TRT use. Consider this, ‘The Queen of Swords’ is prescribed estrogen and testosterone inhibitors, putting her at what many would consider a ‘disadvantage’ to most women in that respect. Meanwhile, the world awaits the return of ‘Cyborg’ behind her stanozolol suspension.
Let’s not forget this isn’t the first time this has happened in fight sports. Does the name Nong Toom ring a bell? She was the kathoey Muay Thai fighter that had a sex-change mid-career. She battled various women, and her plight was the subject of the documentary ‘The Beautiful Boxer’.
The Olympics allow for transgendered people to compete under the stipulation that, ‘Transsexual athletes must have undergone hormone replacement therapy for at least two years, be legally recognized as the sex in which they want to compete and have had sex-reassignment surgery.’ Fox meets those requirements. As a Floridian who knows how disorganized the Sunshine State’s boxing committee can be, I assume they can’t possibly think they have a better grip on things than the IOC.
Lastly, the disclosure issue: the reason the Chicago native never disclosed that she was transgendered was because nowhere in the appropriate paperwork was it asked. Nor should it be. Fox is a woman at this point and has been for seven years. There is no reason for her not to be licensed.”
Michael Stets, FightLine:
“I can’t see an athletic commission giving the green light for Fox to fight other women. That being said, I don’t think they would be too keen on seeing Fox fight men. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I highly doubt any big promotion would go near Fox with the type of publicity it would bring, and the possibility of a women fighter getting hurt. Discrimination will be brought up, but getting a license to fight is a privilege not a right.”