Target: Mixed martial arts fighter Fallon Fox
Goal: Thank Fox for her bold public declaration of her transgender status and show support for her in the face of critics.
Mixed martial arts fighter Fallon Fox holds an undefeated 5-0 record, with all of her wins garnered in the first round. However, Fox faces scrutiny by critics and opponents alike due to her recent public declaration that she is a transgender fighter. Fox is the first in the sport to do so, and while reactions have been mostly positive, there are some who claim that Fox has an unfair advantage. One MMA fighter who cries foul is Ericka Newsome, an opponent whom Fox recently beat soundly, knocking out Newsome in the first 39 seconds of the fight. According to Newsome and her manager, it was “unfair” of Fox to fight without first disclosing her transgender status (Fox came out publically after the fight with Newsome). Newsome stated that she felt that “it should have been disclosed… ahead of time… to be better prepared for the situation,” and she and her manager aim to appeal the recent loss on the basis of Fox’s failure to reveal her transgender status.
Newsome’s reaction to learning of Fox’s transgender status echoes the sentiments of many public critics. Seemingly like Newsome, many have claimed that because Fox was born a man, this somehow gives her an advantage in fighting other women. But according to Fox, “some people have a tendency not to pay attention to science.” In 2006, Fox underwent gender reassignment surgery, accompanied by hormone therapy, and it was not until 2008 that she began training as a fighter in mixed marital arts. She believes that there were “no unfair advantages” in her recent fight against Newsome, or any fight previously, and she has the medical community behind her. According to Loretta Hunt, a writer who has previously wrote about Fox, regulations by the Association of Boxing Commissions regarding transgender athletes state that, while sex-change surgery is not required, prospective fighters must undergo at least two years of hormone therapy in order to eliminate potential gender related advantages. This is something that Fox has done, and she is therefore in compliance with these guidelines.
Currently, Fox faces yet another setback. The Florida State Boxing Commission is examining her license application, which allows Fox to fight. According to Fox, she was licensed by the California State Athletic Commission, but a spokesperson for the California Commission states that Fox’s license was “under review and not approved.” Fox claims that she did not willingly misrepresent herself in Florida, and a possible mix-up of documentation caused the current confusion. Regardless, Fox’s promoter, Championship Fighting Alliance has canceled her next upcoming event in a show of support. The CEO of the organization states, “We stand 120,000 percent behind Fallon. She’s a female.”
Show your support for Fallon Fox and her unflinching approach to critics. By publically declaring her transgender status, she has opened the way for other athletes to do the same, and proves an inspiration to non-athletes as well.
Dear Fallon Fox,
By coming out publically as a transgender fighter in the MMA, you have cleared a path for other athletes. Your actions have helped create discussion and break stigmas in a firm sports culture, allowing room for others to do the same.
Many critics and opponents alike have attempted to wrongfully assert that you have an “unfair advantage,” or that your participation in women’s MMA is somehow unbalanced. Thank you for standing firm in the face of such critics and thereby allowing the breakdown of stereotypes and misinformed ideas regarding transgender persons. Your bravery and immovability have helped to shed light on truths about transgender identity, and have paved the way for others to follow. Thank you for being an inspiration to others.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Eric Langley via Wikimedia