It was bound to happen, and now that it has, a huge debate has erupted over the place of transgendered women in MMA. Fallon Fox revealed that she is transgendered on Tuesday, even though she wasn't sure she was quite ready to do so.
For years I’ve known at some point it’s very likely the shoe would drop. 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.
A reporter apparently contacted Fox, asking questions that led her to believe that he knew about her secret. Soon after that phone call, she got another from a trainer who had also been called by the same reporter. Fox was upset that her life was set to change, much preferring the past several years where she had been treated as a woman.
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.
Up until now, Fallon Fox has fought twice in MMA, winning both contests early in the first round. That may be fast, but not nearly as fast as this story has spread around the MMA community, LGBT community and the internet. Now, she faces possible difficulties getting licensed to fight as the debate over whether or not she has a competitive advantages rages on.
In her defense Fallon Fox released a statement explaining why she feels she should be able to continue competing as a woman.
I’d like the world to know that I deserve the right to compete in women’s MMA. I have trained hard for this, sacrificed relationships, invested money to attempt to accomplish my goal of being the best female MMA fighter I can be. I am a woman. A woman who happens to fall into the category of post operative transsexual. Just like there are black women, lesbian women, disabled women, and other types of women… there are trans women. We are just another type in the category of women.
There is a misconception out there that post operative transsexual women have an automatic advantage over women born with complete female anatomy. This is simply not true. The general public needs to be aware of this and we are hoping to shed light on this misconception.
I can not wait to fight again. And I would like to take my skills to the highest levels and promotions that I can.
Although MMA has not had to deal with this issue before, there are past precedents. In 2004, the International Olympic Committee ruled that people who had undergone sex reassignment could compete under the following coditions:
- Surgical changes must have been completed, including external genitalia changes and removal of gonads.
- Legal recognition of their assigned sex must have been conferred by appropriate official authorities.
- Hormone therapy — for the assigned sex — must have been given for long enough to minimize any gender-related advantages in sport competitions, a period that must be at least two years aftergonadectomy.
Apparently, Fox has met all of those conditions, opening up the debate of whether or not MMA should follow the lead of the Olympics.