MMA stands for mixed martial arts, which is a blend of fighting styles and skills. Recently Fallon Fox went public as the first transgender fighter in the MMA.

Fox was born a man, became a woman through hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery and then began her training in mixed martial arts. After winning her first two fights, Fox revealed her story to Sports Illustrated on the heels of an investigation into her surgery. In regards to her statements acknowledging that she was born a man, Fallon stated, “It’s just some people, some of society doesn’t get it yet. And this is what we are trying to do now is to inform people and let them know about transgender athletes.” Additionally when asked if there was an advantage for a woman born a man when fighting another woman, Fox stated, “There are no unfair competitive advantages.”

While the MMA allows participation of transgender fighters after completion of two years of hormone therapy, Fox knows that some fans and other fighters will attempt to dismiss her success because she was born in a male body. She argues that she has erased any advantage she had from being born in a male body by participating in ten years of hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.

In addition to the MMA, other professional sports organizations do not discriminate against transgender athletes. Through her gender change, Fox would currently be allowed to participate in the Olympic games as a woman. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) policy requires that transgender athletes undergo hormone therapy long enough to remove gender-related advantages. Other professional sports organizations that Fox would currently be allowed to compete in include the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

Fox plans on continuing to fight and since MMA is a sport that does not discriminate against transgender athletes, there will likely continue to be critics who believe she has an unfair competitive advantage even after the treatments she has undergone.

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