Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fallon Fox, the first transgendered MMA fighter, and Peggy Morgan are on opposite sides of a $20,000 Championship Fighting Alliance tournament.

Both won their first fight, Fox over Ericka Newsome by knee KO in 39 seconds, and Morgan by unanimous decision over the formerly undefeated Revelina Berto.

To get to the finals, Morgan needs to beat Ashlee Evans-Smith on May 24. Fox is scheduled to fight Allanah Jones, although Jones has not committed to the contest, due to concerns about potential advantages a male to female transsexual might have in a fight in the women’s division.

Fox appeared recently on MMA Inside MMA and said that women who don’t want to fight her are likely either scared or bigoted.

“Some fighters have already said they do not want to fight me,” said Fox. “I think that’s because they’re scared, number one, because I ‘m pretty good. Or they might just have a bias and be a hateful person, who doesn’t want to touch me, or whatever.

“But I don’t want to fight those people anyways,  because they’re scared and what kind of fight would that be? I want to fight someone who will come at me aggressively and wants to fight me. That’s what I’m looking for.” 

Morgan and her trainer John Fain, who were upset by the remarks, released what they later termed an ‘inflammatory’ video.

“Fallon Fox is not Rosa Parks,” said Fain emphatically. “He’s not trying to elevate anyone but himself, and he’s making a mockery of women’s MMA. He lied on his Florida state application to fight, and as a result, assaulted an unknowing woman in the cage. This is a total lack of character and integrity.”

“We are not afraid of Fallon Fox, but we are not going to fight him.”


Now through her management website, Morgan has released a more measured statement of why she will not fight Fox.

Ever since the news broke that Fallon Fox, one of the fighters in the CFA Women’s Featherweight Tournament, is a post-operative transsexual, there has been a lot of chatter in the media about whether or not she should be allowed to retain her fighter’s license and continue in the tournament. Like Fallon, I am a semi-finalist in the CFA tournament. Unlike Fallon, I was born with a vagina. Over the past three weeks, I’ve sat back and watched the story unfold without speaking out. The main reason I’ve stayed quiet is that it’s a delicate subject and I’m afraid of inadvertently offending people or of saying something that will be taken out of context and misconstrued. To that end, let me begin by saying I have no issues with lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgender individuals. I do, however, have issues with the argument that I, a born woman, should be expected to cage fight someone who was born and lived for thirty-one years as a man. As an athlete and a woman, I am frustrated by the way the situation has played out and by the fact that many people seem more concerned with preserving Fallon’s feelings than with protecting the physical safety of me and the other female competitors in the tournament.

Firstly, I am perturbed that Fallon did not disclose her transgender status before getting into the cage and fighting women. Yes, I know that her driver’s license says she’s a woman, but this does not obviate the fact that she was born and developed as a man. I have difficulty believing that she did not realize from the outset that were it known, her status as a transgender athlete would raise problems. I believe that not disclosing her medical history prior to competition reveals a lack of integrity as well as a lack of respect for the commission, for the promotion, and, most importantly, for the other fighters in the tournament. Now we have one woman who was brutally knocked out in a fight that in all likelihood should not have been sanctioned and three others who are waiting in limbo while the commission and the CFA scramble to sort things out.

Fallon has fought five times as a mixed martial artist, three times as an amateur and twice as a professional. In all five fights, she finished her female opponent in the first round. I am not an expert in gender reassignment, but I have a hard time believing that there is no correlation between Fallon’s success in the cage and the fact that she lived as a man for thirty-one years. Fallon argues that she won these fights because she is a highly skilled martial artist. She claims that any woman who refuses to fight her is really just scared. This is absolutely delusional. Before the news of Fallon’s sexual reassignment broke, I remember watching her warm up for her March 2nd fight and wondering how she’d finished all her opponents so quickly. I mean, she looked okay, but she definitely didn’t display the sort of technical mastery she claims to possess.

Ultimately, I do not think there is sufficient hard evidence to show that Fallon does not have physical advantages over the women she has fought. I understand why people are advocating for Fallon and I appreciate that it is important to protect her rights, but I think it should be just as important to protect the safety of the other women in the tournament. Until I am presented with conclusive evidence that a fight with Fallon would, in fact, be fair, I will not be entering the cage with her.

Peggy Morgan