Although many people in the MMA community have strong opinions about transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, UFC heavyweight competitor Matt Mitrione isn't shy about his opinion.
During an interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the former NFL player launched a verbal tirade against Fox, whom he labeled a "freak" with "mental issues" for wanting to fight against women:
He's chromosomally a man. He had a gender change, not a sex change. He's still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That's a couple years younger than I am. He's a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That's ridiculous.
That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak. And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That's disgusting. You should be embarrassed yourself. And 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. 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 is currently riding high on his recent 19-second knockout win against Phil De Fries at UFC on Fuel 9, marking his sixth career victory in eight UFC bouts since competing on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Mitrione isn't the only UFC talent to express apprehension at Fox's license to compete in mixed martial arts, as UFC color commentator Joe Rogan also expressed that Fox was simply "a man without a dick" despite her gender reassignment.
Former welterweight champion Matt Hughes has also been critical of Fox, simply referring to her as an "it" during a UFC 158 Q&A session.
Notably, UFC title contender Miesha Tate contributed to the overall discussion earlier this year in an interview with ESPN, saying that she probably wouldn't fight a transgender fighter like Fox for "safety" reasons.
Regardless, Fox's manager states (via MMA Fighting) that his 37-year-old client hopes for a chance to fight in the UFC or Invicta FC.
Controversy aside, Fox will indeed continue to compete in MMA, as the Florida State Boxing Commission has formally closed its investigation against her. Unless the FSBC intervenes, Fox's next fight is currently set for the Championship Fighting Alliance on May 24, where the promotion's $20,000 women's featherweight tournament enters its semifinals.
UPDATE: In response to Mitrione's appearance on The MMA Hour, the UFC has issued the following statement to Bleacher Report:
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.
Although the length of Mitrione's suspension has not been determined, it's unlikely that the Blackzilians team member will be seeing a swift return to the Octagon despite winning his UFC on Fuel 9 heavyweight bout uninjured.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVision, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania & The L.A. Times.