Maybe none of you care about MMA or gender equality but I felt it apt to still bring this to light. On the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani Monday (The MMA version of The Dan Patrick Show) Meathead, who is a respected UFC fighter and regular guest of the program, made his feelings known on the Fallon Fox situation that has made UFC and fighting message boards explode for the past month. For those of you who don't know, Fallon Fox is a transgendered MMA fighter (who transitioned 6 years ago) who has recently been liscened to fight other women in Florida.
This was the decision of Florida State Athletic Commission and was based on a precedent set by the International Olympic Committee who had previously allowed transgendered athletes to compete as women during the Olympics. Needless to say, this is an extremely blurry and controversial subject where no difinitive answer exists. The arguments on either side are both compelling because after 10 years of hormone therapy, Fallon Fox has the muscle mass and bone density of a natural born woman, yet no amount of surgery or hormones or therapy is ever going to negate a body with a skeletal structure that spent the first 26 years (Fox is 36) of life as a man. If this were a pure gender equality issue, I would be 100% for her competing with other ladies. But because this is bloodsport, the issues are not that simple. Athletes get fined and suspended all the time after injesting performance enhacing drugs that (in full contact sports like football and fighting) give them an advantage that could directly lead to the injury of others. And so the crux of this issue isn't so much as recognizing Fox' right to be recognized as a woman (which should be a no brainer) but whether or not the years she spent living as a man are enough of a performance enhancement that she should be barred from competing. I can honestly say I don't know the answer.
This is where Mitrione enters the story. The former Boilermaker linebacker and NFL vet has been in the UFC for the better part of 4 years. He is an established draw and up until this Monday had generally been considered a likable personality by the MMA community. Regrettably, Mitrione lost all that goodwill when, during his semi-regular segmant on Helwani's show, Meathead decided to wax poetic about Fox. And I quote:
"It's an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that," Mitrione said. "The woman that's fighting him, props to you. I hope you beat his ass, and I hope he gets blackballed and never fights again because that's disgusting and I'm appalled by that." Mitrione then went on to call Fox a "lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak."
Listen, while I'm COMPLETELY ok with Mitrione having legitimate safety concerns about allowing transgendered woman to fight natural born females , it is definitely not ok to frame those concerns within the confines of hate speak. In fact, Mitrione's actions were deemed so innapriopriate that he was indefinitely suspended by UFC President Dana White (who was once reprimanded himself for calling a prominent MMA journalist a "faggot dyke") hours after the interview aired. The end point is, that while it's completely alright to believe that making the transition between genders is dangerous for competition, it is never ok to use a soundboard like Mitrione's spot on the MMA Hour to broadcast those beliefs with hateful and vitriolic words.
Embarassing for Matt and embarrassing for the University he once represented...
a story on the fallout from the interview ----> http://www.mmajunkie.com/news/2013/04/ufc-suspends-matt-mitriones-contract-after-comments-about-fallon-fox
about Fallon Fox ----> http://www.outsports.com/comingout/2013/3/6/4072608/fallon-fox-is-trans-mma-fighter
Meatheads Wikipedia Page ----> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Mitrione