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Fallon Fox

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Fallon Fox
Fallon Fox.jpg
Born (1975-11-29) November 29, 1975 (age 45)
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight144 lb (65 kg; 10.3 st)[1]
DivisionFeatherweight (2012–present)
Reach70 in (178 cm)
Fighting out ofSchaumburg, Illinois
TeamMidwest Training Center
Years active2012–2014
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission2
By knockout1
By decision0
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Fallon Fox (born November 29, 1975) is an American retired MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter. She is the first openly transgender athlete in MMA history.[2][3][4][5]

Early life

Fox was born in Toledo, Ohio, where she was assigned male at birth. She recalls struggling with her gender as early as age five or six.[3] As a teenager, Fox believed she may have been a gay man, but learned the term transgender at the age of 17.[2] Fox continued living as a heterosexual man and married her then-girlfriend at the age of 19, when the latter became pregnant with their daughter. Fox then joined the US Navy to support her new family and served as an operations specialist on the USS Enterprise.[3]

After leaving the Navy, Fox enrolled at the University of Toledo, but dropped out after ongoing psychological stress from her unresolved gender issues.[3] After leaving college, Fox worked as a truck driver in order to afford sex reassignment surgery. She moved to Chicago, Illinois, with her daughter. In 2006, she traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to undergo gender reassignment surgery, breast augmentation, and hair transplant surgeries at Bangkok National Hospital.[3]

Mixed martial arts career

Fallon Fox came out as transgender on March 5, 2013, during an interview with Outsports writer Cyd Zeigler and Sports Illustrated, following her two initial professional fights in the women's division.[6][7] Controversy swelled over confusion with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) and Florida's athletic commission over the licensing process Fox chose to complete in Coral Gables. After publications shed light on the licensing procedure and Fox's coming out many commentators brought up the issue of whether a woman who was assigned male at birth should be able to fight in women's divisions in MMA fighting.[7]

UFC color commentator and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan opposed Fallon Fox receiving licensing, saying,[8]

First of all, she's not really a she. She's a transgender, post-op person. The operation doesn't shave down your bone density. It doesn't change. You look at a man's hands and you look at a woman's hands and they're built different. They're just thicker, they're stronger, your wrists are thicker, your elbows are thicker, your joints are thicker. Just the mechanical function of punching, a man can do it much harder than a woman can, period.

Due to controversy and the licensing procedure CFA co-founder Jorge De La Noval, who promoted Fox's fight on March 2 in Florida, postponed Fox's April 20 fight. However, De La Noval later stated his organization will not "turn our backs on her... As long as she's licensed, she's always welcome in our promotion. We stand behind her and we give her all of our support."[3] Fox claimed in her video interview with Cyd Zeigler to be within the rules of organizations like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for postoperative transsexuals and wishes to continue fighting in MMA.[citation needed]

On April 8, 2013, Matt Mitrione, in an appearance on The MMA Hour, said that Fox was "still a man", and called Fox an "embarrassment" and a "lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak". UFC "was appalled by the transphobic comments" he made,[9] and, referring to itself as "a friend and ally of the LGBT community", immediately suspended Mitrione,[10] and fined him an undisclosed amount.[11] The next day Fox issued a response stating that Mitrione "personally attacked me as a fighter, as a woman, and as a human being".[12]

Whether or not Fox possesses an advantage over cisgender female fighters was a topic on the April 2014 edition of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.[13]

In an interview with the New York Post, former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey stated she would be willing to fight Fox, saying "I can knock out anyone in the world",[14] although she believes Fox has male bone density and structure, leading to an unfair advantage.[15] In an interview with Out, Rousey said: "I feel like if you go through puberty as a 'man' it's not something you can reverse. ... There's no undo button on that."[16] UFC president Dana White claimed that "bone structure is different, hands are bigger, jaw is bigger, everything is bigger" and said "I don't think someone who used to be a man and became a woman should be able to fight a woman."[17]

During Fox's fight against Tamikka Brents, 2014-09-13, Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head in the 1st round. After her loss, Brents took to social media to convey her thoughts on the experience of fighting Fox: "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 she was born a man or not because I'm not a doctor. 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," she stated. "Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn't move at all in Fox's clinch..."[18]

Eric Vilain, the director of the Institute For Society And Genetics at UCLA, worked with the Association of Boxing Commissions when they wrote their policy on transgender athletes. He stated in Time magazine that "Male to female transsexuals have significantly less muscle strength and bone density, and higher fat mass, than males"[11] and said that, to be licensed, transgender female fighters must undergo complete "surgical anatomical changes ..., including external genitalia and gonadectomy" and subsequently a minimum of two years of hormone replacement therapy, administered by a board certified specialist. In general concurrence with peer-reviewed scientific literature,[19] he states this to be "the current understanding of the minimum amount of time necessary to obviate male hormone gender related advantages in sports competition". Vilain reviewed Fox's medical records and said she has "clearly fulfilled all conditions."[2] When asked if Fox could, nonetheless, be stronger than her competitors, Vilain replied that it was possible, but noted that "sports is made up of competitors who, by definition, have advantages for all kinds of genetics reasons".[11] Fox herself responded to the controversy with an analogy comparing herself to Jackie Robinson in a guest editorial for a UFC and MMA news website:[20]

Has anybody ever watched the movie 42? Remember when commentators said Jackie Robinson had an unfair advantage because black people had "larger heel bones" than the white men he was competing with? Are we repeating history yet again with bogus bone claims? Can we couple these bogus claims with Rogan's horrible language that was aimed at me from the video I put out last week? I'm a transgender woman. I deserve equal treatment and respect to other types of women. I feel that all of this is so ridiculously unnecessary and horribly mean spirited.

The documentary Game Face provides an inside look into Fox's life during the beginning of her MMA controversy.[21]

Personal life

Fox was raised by devout Christians but has become an atheist.[22]

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
6 matches 5 wins 1 loss
By knockout 3 1
By submission 2 0
By decision 0 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 5–1 Tamikka Brents TKO (punches) CCCW: The Undertaking September 13, 2014 1 2:17 Springfield, Illinois, United States
Win 4–1 Heather Bassett Submission (armbar) Xtreme Fighting Organization 50 March 21, 2014 2 0:44 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 3–1 Ashlee Evans-Smith TKO (punches) CFA 12 October 12, 2013 3 4:15 Coral Gables, Florida, United States Women's Featherweight Tournament Final
Win 3–0 Allanna Jones Submission (shin choke) CFA 11: Kyle vs. Wiuff 2 May 24, 2013 3 3:36 Coral Gables, Florida, United States
Win 2–0 Ericka Newsome KO (knee) CFA 10: McSweeney vs. Staring March 2, 2013 1 0:39 Coral Gables, Florida, United States Women's Featherweight Tournament Semifinal
Win 1–0 Elisha Helsper TKO (injury) KOTC Wild Card May 17, 2012 1 2:00 Worley, Idaho, United States
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 1–0 Rickie Gomes Submission (armbar) Rocktown Showdown 12 June 10, 2011 1 2:27 Rockford, Illinois, United States


In 2014, Fox was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "Fallon "The Queen of Swords" Fox". Sherdog. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Bishop, Greg; Begg, Jack (May 10, 2013). "For Transgender Fighter Fallon Fox, There Is Solace in the Cage". The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hunt, Loretta (March 7, 2013). "How Fallon Fox became the first known transgender athlete in MMA". Time Inc. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  4. ^ "21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture". Time Magazine.
  5. ^ "WOMEN UP: Black Women Rising in Sports [PHOTOS]". EBONY. 2016-08-03.
  6. ^ Zeigler, Cyd (March 5, 2013). "Fallon Fox Comes Out as Trans Pro MMA Fighter". Vox Media. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Hunt, Loretta (March 5, 2013). "Transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox faces licensing problems". Time Inc. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Noble, McKinley (March 19, 2013). "UFC's Joe Rogan to Transgender MMA Fighter Fallon Fox: 'You're a F***ing Man'". Bleacher Report. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  9. ^ UFC suspends Matt Mitrione for transphobic comments regarding Fallon Fox, by Kevin Iole, 2013-04-09 13:00, for Yahoo Sports
  10. ^ Wong, Curtis M. (April 9, 2013). "Matt Mitrione, UFC Fighter, Suspended After Transphobic Fallon Fox Rant". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Gregory, Sean (May 24, 2013). "Should A Former Man Be Able To Fight Women?". Keeping Score. Time Inc. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  12. ^ "Fallon Fox responds to Matt Mitrone". April 9, 2013. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  13. ^ "Fallon Fox featured on HBO's 'Real Sports' - Newsday". 2014-04-26. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  14. ^ "Ronda Rousey: Transgender fighter has 'unfair advantage,' but I'd knock her out anyway", Fox Sports, September 19, 2014, retrieved 2019-05-03
  15. ^ "Rousey: Chop Fox's pecker off but she's still got man bones". September 19, 2014. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
  16. ^ "UFC Women's Champ Refuses to Fight Trans Athlete Fallon Fox". 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  17. ^ Agency, Qmi (2014-09-19). "Rousey won't fight transgendered MMAer Fallon Fox". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  18. ^ "After Being TKO'd by Fallon Fox, Tamikka Brents Says Transgender Fighters in MMA 'Just Isn't Fair' - Cagepotato". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  19. ^ Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons; Hembree, Cohen-Kettenis, Delemarre-van de Waal, Gooren, Meyer, Spack, Tangpricha, Montori; The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2009 94:9, pages 3132-3154
  20. ^ Fox, Fallon (11 November 2014). "Fox breaks down anti-transgender arguments". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  21. ^ "New Documentary Explores Challenges of LGBTQ Athletes". ESPN. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  22. ^ Maxwell, Nancy Hass, Robert (23 December 2013). "Fallon Fox, MMA's First Transgender Fighter".
  23. ^ Zeigler, Cyd (9 July 2014). "Gay sports hall of fame inducts 15 new members". Outsports. Retrieved 1 June 2017.