UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione had his contract suspended by the UFC Monday after making comments about a transgendered mixed martial artist named Fallon Fox.
Fox was born a man but had gender reassignment surgery and is socially recognized as a woman.
However, controversy within the MMA community has surrounded the 37-year-old, as many believe the fighter has an unfair advantage over opponents. Fox competes in the 145-pound women’s featherweight division.
Fox debuted in the sport in 2012 but didn’t publicly come out out as a transgendered athlete until early March 2013, a couple days after picking up a knockout win over Ericka Newsome at a Championship Fighting Alliance event in Florida.
“That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” said Mitrione, who referred to Fox as “he” and “him” throughout an interview on The MMA Hour Monday. “And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting.”
Many medical professionals — citing muscle mass and bone density among other things — have argued Fox has an unfair advantage over female opponents and that there are health and safety concerns over Fox competing against women.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan spoke out against Fox fighting females several weeks ago on his podcast.
“I’ll be respectful but you can’t fight women when you have a man’s frame. Period,” Rogan said. “Women aren’t that wide, that generates to increased punching power. Women don’t have that sort of muscle structure.”
Mitrione’s comments were along the same line as Rogan’s, although perhaps slightly more blatant, and they come after the UFC implemented a code of conduct for its fighters in January.
“The fact that Florida licensed him because California licensed him or whoever the hell did it, it’s an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that,” Mitrione added. “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.”
After being made aware of Mitrione’s comments the UFC issued the following statement:
“The UFC was appalled by the transphobic comments made by heavyweight Matt Mitrione today in an interview on the ‘MMA Hour.’
“The organization finds Mr. Mitrione’s comments offensive and wholly unacceptable and — as a direct result of this significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct – Mr. Mitrione’s UFC contract has been suspended and the incident is being investigated.
“The UFC is a friend and ally of the LGBT community, and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect.”
It’s uncertain at this time how long Mitrione’s contract will be suspended for and when he will be able to compete again.
Mitrione picked up a 19-second knockout win over Phil De Fries at the UFC’s event in Sweden this past weekend.
The win was Mitrione’s sixth in the UFC – his fifth by either knockout or TKO – and it snapped a two-fight losing streak.