Since being forced to "come out" to the mixed martial arts world, transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox has gained intense scrutiny for competing in the women's division.
Now, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan is voicing his immense disapproval of Fox's divisional affiliation as a female athlete.
During a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, co-host Brian Redban asked Rogan what he thought about "that tranny" [Fox], which started an eight-minute rant from Rogan that delved into the following commentary (via Fight Opinion):
She calls herself a woman but... I tend to disagree. And, uh, she, um... she used to be a man but now she has had, she's a transgender which is (the) official term that means you've gone through it, right? And she wants to be able to fight women in MMA. I say no f***ing way.
I say if you had a dick at one point in time, you also have all the bone structure that comes with having a dick. You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints. You're a f***ing man. That's a man, OK? You can't have... that's... I don't care if you don't have a dick any more...
According to an in-depth ESPN profile piece by veteran MMA journalist Loretta Hunt, Fox made her male-to-female transition in 2006 during a trip to Thailand.
Once Fox had gone through "gender reassignment, breast augmentation and hair transplant surgeries" courtesy of the Bangkok National Hospital, she returned to America six weeks later.
Prior to her transition, Fox had served in the Navy as a operations specialist 2nd class for the U.S.S. Enterprise to support her daughter, born as the result of an unexpected pregnancy. Fox was also forced to quit college and work as a trucker in order to save money for gender reassignment surgery.
But despite the fact that Fox has physically identified as a woman for roughly seven years, Rogan claims that she is "f***ed up" for choosing to compete against female fighters—mostly due to the assumed physical advantages that Rogan insists come from being born a male:
Look, [Fox is] huge! She's not just huge, she's got a f***ing man's face. I mean, you can wear all the lipstick you want. You want to be a woman and you want to take female hormones, you want to get a boob job, that's all fine. I support your life to live, your right to live as a woman.
Fight guys, yes. She has to fight guys. First of all, she's not really a she. She's a transgender, post-op person. The operation doesn't shave down your bone density. It doesn't change. You look at a man's hands and you look at a women's hands and they're built different. They're just thicker, they're stronger, your wrists are thicker, your elbows are thicker, your joints are thicker. Just the mechanical function of punching, a man can do it much harder than a woman can, period.
Fallon Fox currently competes in the women's featherweight division, where she has won an amateur bout and two professional MMA bouts. All three matches ended by stoppages in the first round, with Fallon finishing her opponents by KO, TKO and submission.
Due to the uniqueness of her case, Fox's story has heavily divided much of the MMA community across several lines.
Is Joe Rogan right about Fox?
UFC bantamweight fighter Liz Carmouche, the promotion's first openly gay and lesbian athlete, went public with her support of Fox (via GLAAD), stating that she would welcome her as an opponent if she joined the UFC's 135-pound ranks.
Former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate has also weighed in on the issue, telling ESPN that she personally wouldn't fight a transgender athlete like Fox due to "safety" concerns.
UFC Hall of Famer and former welterweight champion Matt Hughes had a more subtle criticism of Fox during a UFC 158 Q&A session, referring to the transgender athlete as an "it" when answering a hypothetical question about fighting her.
Rogan also asserts that Fox is little more than "a man without a dick" and not truly a female, citing Fox's looks to be clearly masculine. He further stressed his point by comparing "The Queen of Swords" to other fighters such as Carmouche and UFC star Ronda Rousey—two athletes who were born women, unlike Fox:
If you want to be a woman in the bedroom and you know you want to play house and all of that other s*** and you feel like you have, your body is really a woman's body trapped inside a man's frame and so you got a operation, that's all good in the hood. But you can't fight chicks. Get the f*** out of here. You're out of your mind. You need to fight men, you know? Period. You need to fight men your size because you're a man. You're a man without a dick.
I'm not trying to discriminate against women in any way, shape, or form and I'm a big supporter of women's fighting. I loved watching that Ronda Rousey/Liz Carmouche fight. But those are actual women. Those are actual women. And as strong as Ronda Rousey looks, she's still looks to me like a pretty girl. She's a beautiful girl who happens to be strong. She's a girl! [Fallon Fox] is not a girl, OK? This is a [transgender] woman. It's a totally different specification.
Fallon Fox is currently under review for the legality of her fighting license under the Florida State Boxing Commission, as her transgender status was not known prior to any of her three earlier competitors.
According to Drs. Marci Bowers, MD and Sherman Leis—two transgender health experts interviewed by Bloody Elbow's Stephanie Daniels—Fox should biologically have no natural physical advantages over her fellow female opponents due to her years of gender reassignment and horomone therapy.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and tech writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld, PC World, 1UP, NVision, The Los Angeles Times, FightFans Radio, MMA Mania and Bleacher Report. Talk with him on Twitter.