A CageJunkies Editorial: Should Transgendered MMA Fighter Fallon Fox Be Allowed To Fight In WMMA?
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author of this article does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CageJunkies.com, it’s editor, or other authors.
If you haven’t been living under a rock the last few days you have seen this headline “Fallon Fox’s MMA license being investigated”, “Professional MMA Fighter Fallon Fox comes out as Transgender” or “First openly transgender MMA fighter has arrived”. Only this was not Fallon’s first fight. In fact, her record is 3 – 0 as an amateur and 2 – 0 as a pro. I have yet to see the headline, “My 18 yr old daughter was locked in the cage with a 35 year old man”? Even though that is an accurate description of what really happened.
Last year – Scottie Fortner stepped into the octagon to fight for a title belt. As a girl from Western Kentucky she was excited to head to Chicago to fight for APFC and even more excited for the opportunity to fight for a belt in her beloved sport of Mixed Martial Arts. At 145 lbs. Scottie has been fighting for the last couple years; training and teaching MMA for the last four. The fight card read: Fallon Fox vs. Scottie Fortner – APFC Women’s Lightweight Championship on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at “MMA at the Max 2″. Fallon walked away with the Belt after Scottie lost via arm bar in round 1 at 1:11. End of story right? Wrong.
Fallon Fox is a man. Born as a man and has lived her life until approximately age 25 as a man. She has been on hormone therapy for 10 years now and six years ago she had gender reassignment surgery. She even took a pregnancy test when she competed this past Saturday at Championship Fighting Alliance 10 in Coral Gables, Fla. In addition, Fox admits she did not disclose her transgender history, and presumably the pertaining medical documents that would have accompanied her Florida application, because she was not asked to. For all intents and purposes, Fox presents herself as a man and feels that “any advantage she had from being born in a male body have been erased”.
Scottie Fortner and other female fighters that stepped into the octagon not knowing they were in the octagon with a man disagree – vehemently. In a recent telephone conversation Scottie says “If I wanted to fight a man I would have fought a man. I don’t. I am a woman fighter and expect to fight women fighters. There is a reason for the differing weight classes and different organizations. If there was no valid reason for the men to fight men and the women to fight women then a 145 female could just step into the octagon with a 145 male. They don’t. But in this case they did, because no one knew. Men are just not built the same as women. Their muscles and body frame are biologically different. No amount of hormone therapy is going to change the inherently different ways a woman’s body and a man’s body is formed, built and functions. Things like bone density and muscle mass for example are greatly different in a natural biological male body vs. a natural biological female body”. Fortner knows what she is talking about because she trains all day with male fighters. In fact, she trains and goes as hard as her male counterparts; however, the strength of a strong, athletic man and the strength of a strong, athletic woman are nowhere near the same, comparable, or fair. “Watch the video of the fight between me and Fox. Fox picks me up and slams me within a few seconds. I was manhandled during that fight, no doubt about it” says Fortner. Fortner’s current record as an amateur is 4 – 2 and she feels it should more accurately be 4 – 1; considering one of the losses was from a legally born man and should be declared no contest or removed from her record.
Another of Fallon’s opponents was Alyssa Vasquez who fought Fox on April 21, 2012. When Bluegrass MMA asked Alyssa on March 6 in an interview how she felt about finding out her opponent was a transgender male and what her reaction to the news was she said “ I don’t feel that it is fair in the Professional realm, when money is on the line, to be able to withhold that sort of information. I am angered that I wasn’t informed prior to stepping in the cage, but I don’t support anyone bashing her. She was a sweet woman to me and even gave me an enormous hug right after our fight. She was the epitome of what I would want to be in a fighter, but with that being said, I simply don’t feel it is fair for her to compete under the guise of being a woman. In light of this news, I am considering getting that fight either taken off my record or deemed No-Contest.”
As for her fight this past weekend, Fallon defeated Ericka Newsome in a 39 second knockout in a women’s tournament style fighting championship. Disclosure of her transgender status did not come until Monday. As such, Fallon is currently under investigation regarding the details of her application for a fighters license in Florida. 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.
Should a naturally born male be allowed to fight in the cage and compete as a female against a naturally born female? What gaping holes in the system are there to be able to allow something of this nature to take place. Last but not least, what are the legal, ethical, and moral ramifications of allowing a man to fight a woman in an octagon and call it a sport?