Since MMA fighter Fallon Fox announced that she is transgender on March 5 (via the Huffington Post), many have weighted in on whether or not that part of one's life should impact their place in a specific-gender division.
Everyone from Fox to UFC commentator Joe Rogan (Note: sensitive language in video) have weighed in, but only one man's opinion matters when it comes to Fox's future in the newly-created women's division of the world's best MMA league.
That man is UFC president Dana White.
Fox, who is 5-0 with five KOs in her MMA career, is a legitimate candidate to tryout for the UFC if White has interest in expanding the women's roster. Her license is currently under review by the Florida State Boxing Commission.
The UFC has added talented fighters Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche to its women's roster in an attempt to diversify the sport and announced that 'The Ultimate Fighter 18' tryouts would be open to both men and women in the 135-pound division over the weekend (via USA Today).
After the Rousey-Carmouche fight pulled good ratings and drew a level of intrigue equaled to that of some other UFC cards, there's no doubt expansion is on White's mind when it comes to his newest division.
While those developments are paving the way for history in the sport, Fox's story is causing some stop and pause about her potential inclusion to the growing women's roster.
Tate, for one, doesn't want to take a fight with Fox (via MMA Blog on Twitter):
MMA blog @blogMMA
Miesha Tate: I have nothing against transgender people, but I wouldn't fight Fallon Fox http://t.co/5wiCSJGkUa #ufc #mma2013-3-19 13:59:20
Other fighters might feel the same way, and they are perfectly entitled to that right. While certainly one of the more unique and inspirational stories we've ever seen about an MMA fighter over the existence of the sport, the fact remains that Fox has had extensive surgery and therapy to change her body and psyche from that of a man's into a woman's.
White has already spoken out about Fox's place in his league, and surprisingly, he had no comment about whether or not the athletic commissions should sway one way or another in determining Fox's status as a female fighter.
Instead, he wants to see Fox face legitimate competition.
Here's what White had to say about Fox, courtesy of MMAJunkie.com:
Here's the other thing ... All this other hype about Fallon Fox fighting in the UFC or whatever, understand this first and foremost: Everyone that Fallon Fox has fought has a losing record.
So before you even think about fighting in the UFC or whatever – he was a man and now he's a woman – he's fighting girls who have losing records. Before you get too crazy about him being in the UFC, he's so freaking far from being in the UFC that it's not even funny.
While the prospect of Fox joining the UFC is certainly exciting for proponents of her long journey to MMA stardom and especially juicy for the drama it would create within the women's decision, White is taking a careful approach to his next move.
With a story holding as much cultural impact as this one, it's probably not a bad move.
On one hand, Fox would be a big draw for a different audience of the sport. Transgenders don't exactly have huge representation right now in professional sports, and Fox's place in the UFC could be a major selling point for a new group of fans.
On the other hand, if fighters like Tate that are already on the roster are complaining about potential fights with Fox because of the history of being a man, then it could be a public-relations nightmare for both White and his current roster.
Whatever your opinion on Fox and which division the 37-year-old should be fighting in, one thing is very clear about her future in the UFC: Dana White calls the shots, and he'll have a tough set of pros and cons if the athletic commissions rule in Fox's favor over the next few weeks.