Well this is interesting. A transgender “female” is now competing as a woman in MMA. After a 37-second knockout victory in 2013, the fifth first-round victory in a row against women, it was revealed that Fallon Fox was not born a female, but had transgender surgery in 2006.
He made the headlines after breaking his female opponent’s eye socket in a 2014 match, which he won by TKO in the first round. The opponent, Tamikka Brents, commented in a post-fight interview:
“I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because [he] was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”
His “grip was different,” she added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”
Many lead voices in the MMA community have spoken out that they usually have a liberal point of view socially, but when it comes to combat sports transgender men should not be able to compete as women. A popular commentator and announcer in the MMA community, Joe Rogan, commented on his podcast over a year ago “that a transgendered man would ‘have all the bone structure that comes with’ being a man. ‘You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints.’” LifeSiteNews reported military veteran and UFC competitor Jeff Nader’s response that “Fallon Fox has had the benefits of being a man for most of his life. [He has] bone density, muscle mass, and other physical benefits that one gets from being a man. You can’t have that, and then make a minor adjustment—basically, a cosmetic adjustment—and suddenly claim to be a woman.”
It turns out you can’t play pretend when it comes to sports. Transgender surgery does not make a woman. Reality sets in. And so ironically, Fallon Fox seems to be hurting the transgender case by trying to fight as a woman. Of course Fox asserts that any women who do not want to fight him are full of hate and bias. I find it very interesting that a man who was not upfront about his transgender surgery, competing as woman, and overpowering them with his physicality, plays the victim card. Really?
Brents made the comment that it isn’t fair. Here we see an interesting clash, one that I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of, between women’s rights and LBGT rights.
Some in the conservative Christian community have already spoken out that women should not be fighting in the MMA at all. I disagree. But it should be fair. Women should at least be assured that their opponents are actually women. And the truth comes out on the mats. You just can’t pretend you are something you’re not.
Do we protect the rights of a man who feels like a woman on the inside, or the actual women?
*Originally published on June 11, 2015.