Yesterday transgender athlete Fallon Fox issued an official statement:
“I’d like the world to know that I deserve the right to compete in women’s MMA. I have trained hard for this, sacrificed relationships, invested money to attempt to accomplish my goal of being the best female MMA fighter I can be. I am a woman. A woman who happens to fall into the category of post operative transsexual. Just like there are black women, lesbian women, disabled women, and other types of women… there are trans women. We are just another type in the category of women.”
“There is a misconception out there that post operative transsexual women have an automatic advantage over women born with complete female anatomy. This is simply not true. The general public needs to be aware of this and we are hoping to shed light on this misconception.”
“I can not wait to fight again. And I would like to take my skills to the highest levels and promotions that I can.”
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Fox most recently competed for the CFA in Florida and won her bout, a professional bout against another female. It wasn't until after the bout that her unique situation was uncovered and MMA media and fans began arguing the moral and professional questions surronding a male who became a female through surgery competing against women in professional MMA. Loretta Hunt of Sports Illustrated delved into the question more in depth:
"This wasn't something that I wanted to come out," said Fallon. "I consider it my personal business, part of my medical history. It's not something I like to discuss with people, but I've been bracing for this for years, thinking when was the phone call going to come?"
In a perfect world, Fallon would not have been obligated to reveal her transsexuality beyond the state athletic commissions that license her. A transgender policy has already been drafted for the sport. In 2012 the Association of Boxing Commissions drafted a transgender policy for the sport. It just hasn't been needed until now.
What happens to Fallon next will set the groundwork for others to follow, a small consolation as she wades through the misconceptions and misnomers and rises to tackle the discriminatory reactions she'll get in the coming weeks. That's the problem with being first. Trailblazers are usually not revered until that treacherous road snakes long behind them.
When the dust settles, Fallon hopes fans will see that MMA is as much a part of her as it is for Anderson Silva, Georges St.-Pierre or Ronda Rousey. It's as much a part of her identity as her transsexuality is. Fallon has struggled for years to find her identity and she doesn't want to let it go. Should she really have to?
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