On 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?