Transgender MMA Fighter Fallon Fox Under Review

Transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox has been placed under close scrutiny by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), and it’s too early to tell if she’ll be stepping into a cage soon.

In comments to The Los Angeles Times on Thursday, March 7, Andy Foster, executive officer of CSAC, confirmed that transgender fighters would have a place in the sport, but the question that had to be answered was “how we go about it.”

“When do we consider a transgender… a female?” Foster said.

Speaking specifically to Fox’s case, Foster admitted that Fox would have to provide “substantially more stuff than what [was] provided thus far” to the commission.

Fox came out as a trans pro MMA fighter to Outsports on Tuesday, March 5.

“For years I’ve known at some point it’s very likely the shoe would drop,” Fox said. “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.”

Outsports said “a probing reporter” called Fox, who had just captured a knockout victory against Ericka Newsome and was busy celebrating. The unnamed reporter’s line of questioning focused on Fox’s past and gradually the details began to emerge.

“These past six years, people have seen me as a woman, not a transsexual,” Fox said. “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.”

Fox scored her victory over Newsome in Florida after falsifying that she had a valid California license. While both states review her case, ESPN notes that Newsome’s coach and manager Matt Hambleton is furious, and “not about what you think I am,” he said.

“Here’s a person who lies on their application–by saying you’re a healthy female with a normal menstrual cycle, you’re lying–who says she has a license when she doesn’t,” Hambleton said, noting it didn’t matter “whether you’re black, white, gay, straight or transgender.”

“When you step into the ring against one of my athletes with no medical clearance, you’re endangering my athlete, every other fighter out there, and hurting the sport you say you love. And now I think she’s playing the woe-is-me card,” Hambleton added.

The issue of how to classify transgender persons in competition has become increasingly prevalent. Recently, ESPN Radio hosts were suspended for mocking a transgender basketball player.

Meanwhile, The Miss Universe Pageant announced last year that 2013 would be the first year transgender contestants would be allowed to compete.

But beauty pageants and basketball are not combat sports, though there is some precedent which may influence CSAC’s decision regarding Fox.

The Association of Boxing Commissions and the International Olympic Committee are both in agreement that males who become females “are not eligible for athletic competition unless they have undergone sex reassignment surgery” and two years of testosterone suppression, The LA Times noted.

Do you believe Fox should be allowed to compete against women as a transgender MMA fighter?

[Image via Fallon Fox MMA website]