Home Hot Topics Transgender Fighter Issue Revisited After Devastating TKO

Transgender Fighter Issue Revisited After Devastating TKO


Just as it seemed the uproar regarding transgender fighter Fallon Fox was beginning to subside, the floodgates have re-opened following her recent win on September 13th over Tamikka Brents.

The 38 year old who began life as a man, but went through gender re-assignment in 2006, has been a point of controversy since coming out to the public last year. At that point the fighter, who is now 5-1-0, already had two knockout wins under her belt.

Over the weekend Fox competed under the Illinois promotion “Capital City Cage Wars,” in a 145lb match up against Brents (2-2-0) who was sent to the hospital after receiving a concussion and broken orbital bone also requiring seven stitches in her head. The fight lasted 2:17min into round one.

In a recent interview with WhoaTV, Brents offered her first hand experience and opinion regarding Fox competing against natural born women.

“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…”

“I still disagree with Fox fighting,” Brents stated. “Any other job or career I say have a go at it, but when it comes to a combat sport I think it just isn’t fair. At least not until we have more scientific proof that it is or isn’t fair. More research is needed for sure. Like I said, I am not a doctor, I can only say my opinion and I don’t believe that she should be allowed to fight other women. If it were strictly BJJ or wrestling or something like that sure, but MMA is a completely different sport.”

There are opinions on both sides of the issue regarding transgender competitors, the most prominent of which being Fox. Supporters of Fox attest that her testosterone level is significantly lower than a man’s would be because of the hormone therapy she has undergone and that she is fully a woman. Others argue that bone structure cannot be changed, especially after puberty and this is an unfair advantage.

Fallon Fox weigh in photo
Fallon Fox weigh in photo

The Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) does have specific licensing guidelines in place for transgender fighters, but these can differ across states. Though licensing has come up as an area of contention for Fox, the more pressing issue in the furtherance of her career will be the struggle to find opponents and promotions willing to take on the good and the bad that comes with a transgender fighter.

  • mmaohio33

    She should not be allowed to fight. Shame on the promotion for allowing her to fight

    • AutumnDenver

      Why? Black athletes have higher bone density than white athletes yet we let them compete?

      • Dez_the_mechanic

        Dont act like it wasnt an effort to keep that from happening

      • Curt Oleski

        are you really this dumb?

  • Such BS. The only way for Fox to be viewed as being “valid” is if she loses. ANY time she wins, talking heads will be there to assert that chromosomes or some residual sexed essence gives Fox mutant strength.

    Fox *has* lost before. She’s not unbeaten and there is no peer-reviewed evidence to support a fact claim that people like Fox – who have a similar research, muscle mass, bone density, height, etc to her opponents – has any specific “unfair” advantage. I’d bet that Brents would lose to the fighter Fox lost to.

    The whole bone structure thing is BS. Fox’s phenotype and physiology is absolutely within the same range of her non-trans opponents. You should ask the people who make these blanket claims to the press if they’ve reviewed Fox’s medical records. If they haven’t, then the opinions they’re promoting are uninformed.

    • Neil McCauley

      You have no idea what your talking about , MEN ARE STRONGER THAN WOMEN , you dont think so? thats your stupidity , Why is it that men are tought from like 5 years old never to hit women ???? BECAUSE 90% OF THE TIME WERE STRONGER AND BY A HUGE AMOUNT. You wanna talk physiology ??? Learn something about it then speak ….Women’s lower body strength tends to be more closely matched to men’s, while their upper body strength is often just half that of men’s upper body strength. In a 1993 study exploring gender differences in muscle makeup, female participants exhibited 52 percent of men’s upper body strength, which the researchers partially attributed to their smaller muscles and a higher concentration of fatty tissues in the top half of the female body [source:Miller et al]. Another study published in 1999 similarly found women had 40 percent less upper body skeletal muscle [source: Janssen]. Even controlling for athletic aptitude doesn’t tip the upper body strength scales in favor of the female; an experiment comparing the hand grip strength of non-athletic male participants versus elite women athletes still revealed a muscle power disparity in favor of the menfolk

      • AutumnDenver

        You’re completely ignoring the effects of hormones on the development of muscles. A transwoman on hormone replacement therapy for a significant amount of time has the same muscle mass as a cisgendered woman. In fact, due to the lack of gonades, transwomen. Have less testosterone.

        • Curt Oleski

          hormones are banned form MMA but dont read the rules . by all means let the ignorance pour from your posts

      • In other words, you’ve ironically cited two studies that prove MY point. Fox has LESS testosterone than her opponents and must work harder for the muscle she is able to put on.

        But please, do go on… You were telling me all about how puberty gave her magic man-muscles that somehow stay put in the absence of testosterone and with massive doses of estrogen. Please do tell me more about the science behind your assertion.

        • chase

          There is plenty of science to back the idea of muscle memory. Someone who has worked out in the past will have an easier time putting strength back on then someone who never did Plenty of studies have shown that men who have taken steroids (synthetic testosterone) will exhibit those increases in strength for years. So yes strength is not something that completely goes away in the absence of testosterone immediately. If so, should older men with low T be allowed to fight in womens MMA? How about men who have low T from steroid abuse?

          Also the differences between men and women athletically go beyond just their current testosterone levels and muscles. If you want to address what advantages may exist and how you can decrease you should at least know what they are. Things like changes in blood flow specifically relating to the heart when working out, are shown to happen faster and to a greater degree in men. Men and women have different hips. Men have larger lungs even when accounting for size differences. Men digest food faster (may sound dumb but in MMA cutting weight plays a large part so this might play a part). Some of this may or may not have any effect athletically but they need to at least be addressed. It goes much deeper than just your current testosterone levels.

          • Since your position stands in opposition to actual expert medical opinion on this matter, produce your evidence which proves the world’s experts are wrong. If you’ve nothing more than unsubstantiated ideas or pop opinions based on generalizations, then your opinion doesn’t get to count. That’s how the real world works.

      • Donald Lang

        Maybe you should use more punctuation and caps to make your point.

    • AutumnDenver

      Exactly! If transgender people have such an advantage as they say, why haven’t we seen transwomen dominating Olympic event where they’ve been allowed to compete for over a decade. Not only have we yet to see gold, no transwoman has even qualified for any events.

      • Patrick Unger

        Just because no transgender woman has done anything notable in other physical competition that isn’t the same type of one on one as a combat sport like mma. That doesn’t make it ok for a woman to possibly get a beating of a lifetime by somebody who may or may not have the strength of a man. The truth is though, that nobody really knows at this point. I dont worry too much about it, because im confident that she will never fight for an organization the likes of ufc, or invicta fc. She will be relegated to regional circuits and be not even a footnote in mma history.

        • Donald Lang

          So, Judo, Karate, Fencing, Boxing, Wrestling(free-style and greco-roman), Taekwondo are not combat sports? All sports where trans-women would currently be dominating in the Olympics, if you are right.

          • Patrick Unger

            Obviously those are combat sports, but is there any proof that there are transgender woman involved in these sports? Even if so I’ve seen somebody get their face pounded in at a wrestling event.

      • chase

        I could say the same thing the other way around. How come no women who became a man has ever came even close to being able to compete with men in any sport. Please show me one example. How come we have never seen a women be able to compete with men or be near as strong as men even though thousands have taken illegal steriods. I go to a popular body building gym where there are several female body building competitors who clearly take testosterone. None of them are even close to as strong as any of the men who work out regulary.

  • Dan

    I know there might not be enough of them to make a division but my opinion is trans women should only be allowed to fight other trans women.

  • Curt Oleski

    shes a he and thats violence against women . the MMA should be held accountable for allowing it.Genetically shes a he I have no issue about the trans issue at all.