BY LORI RAUDIO
The mixed martial arts world has been making headlines recently surrounding the first transgender fighter, Fallon Fox. Fox was born a man, but identifies as a woman and has testosterone levels legally classifying her as one.
Fox’s entry into the MMA world has created controversy as to whether she should be allowed to compete against other women. The International Olympic Committee has ruled yes, as she is legally a woman. Others, however, do not feel the same way. Ultimate Fighting Championship announcer Joe Rogan said on his podcast, “You’re a man. That’s a man, OK?”
Rogan was not the only one to speak out about Fox. The UFC recently suspended heavyweight Matt Mitrione for his remarks. In an interview with MMA Hour he said, “That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak. And I mean that, because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting. You should be embarrassed for yourself.”
UFC Champion Ronda Rousey also weighed in, saying Fox has an unfair advantage. If Fox climbs the rankings enough, Rousey may have to compete against her. “It’s not something that happened to her,” Rousey said. “It was a decision she made. She should be aware in her career after that, it’s going to be an arduous path.”
Transgender athletes have long been a point of debate in sports including the cases of Renee Richards, a tennis player and Kye Allums, a college basketball player. These people have met the requirements set by sporting organizations to legally play, yet there is still resistance from society and questions of fairness.
This debate surrounding transgender athletes is likely to continue on, and surely more transgender people will emerge over time. Like homosexuality in sport, transgender athletes in sport also needs to be addressed, without the backlash of negativity and hatred. This will likely be a hot topic over the next few years, and it will be interesting to follow how Fox and similar individuals are accepted into the sports world.