Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender MMA fighter. She is also an activist for transgender rights, sports inclusion and a public speaker.
Fallon Fox was born November 29, 1975 in Toledo, Ohio. Born as Boyd, her transgender journey started at the age of 5. Her parents were devout Pentecostal Christians and she was brought up in line with their strict faith. She was the middle child of three. Throughout her childhood she struggled with gender issues, not knowing what transgender was and at times wondered if she was gay.
At the age of 19 she married her girlfriend who was pregnant and joined the Navy to support her new family. In her mid 20’s she completed her service and for a short time attended the University of Toledo. She then dropped out of school while trying to deal with the depression and anxiety issues caused by what she would soon learn was gender dysphoria.
Fox came out to her father who in turn sent her to a Christian gay conversion therapist who tried to convince her she was just struggling with gay issues and that she could be cured. She no longer has a relationship with her father. After splitting from her wife, she gained custody of her daughter and moved to Chicago. After understanding who she truly was she became a truck driver and began to save money for her transition.
“My truck was like my fortress of solitude — I had all this time alone, just thinking, thinking, thinking.”
It was during her time as a truck driver she would read books and learn everything she could about the transgender experience. “My truck was like my fortress of solitude — I had all this time alone, just thinking, thinking, thinking,” Fox said in an interview with Out magazine. She would often listen to audio books during her long rides. After saving enough money she was able to go to Thailand to complete her gender reassignment in 2006. She returned to the United States and to complete her facial feminization surgery.
In 2008 she began to study Jiu Jitsu. After becoming aware of the MMA and seeing there were female fighters she became entrenched and determined to become one of them. After winning her first two professional bouts, reporters began to investigate her past. Due to the building pressures she decided to come out to Sports Illustrated in March of 2013 to get ahead of the story.
Her announcement would go on to be embedded in debate and controversy. She endured a barrage of hate speech and accusations of cheating because she did not disclose her transgender status in her MMA applications. There was debate whether a person born assigned male at birth should be allowed to fight in the women’s MMA. Ultimately Fox a would be allowed to compete. She has a 5-1 MMA fighting record.
Fallon Fox was able to pave the way for future transgender MMA fighters. Her journey prompted the MMA community to research and understand that it was actually more of a physical disadvantage for a transgender female fighter due to having less muscle mass. She often endured inappropriate and harsh backlash in order to pave the way for those who will come after her.
“I found myself being an activist as well as a fighter.”
Fallon continues to speak publicly about her transgender experience and she actively works to promote sports inclusion for transgender kids. In 2014 she was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
You can learn more about the story of Fallon Fox in the video profile below from Elite Daily (Warning – explicit language):