Fallon Fox has been trying to spin her notoriety into becoming an influencer online – and all while misinterpreting scientific research materials.
Fallon Fox was the first openly trans MMA pro. She competed between 2012-2014 and outed herself some time in 2013. Fox is mostly criticized for not disclosing her biological status prior to several bouts so that her opponents could make an informed choice.
Undefeated in her first three bouts, she faced former UFC bantamweight, Ashlee Evans-Smith in her fourth. Evans-Smith eventually gave Fox her first and only defeat in the cage.
This was a Champion Fighting Alliance 12 featherweight title back in 2013.
But with the curious case of Alana McLaughlin, Fox has been trying to get some clout online.
She recently posted two videos to all of her social platforms. In them she goes on to claim:
“There’s a lot of talk about the bone density of trans women in relation to sport. Opponents of trans women athletes say our bones are too dense to compete with cis women.”
” But did you know that there are racial difference and bone density? Did you know that many cis women have more dense bones and cis men, specifically, many black cisgender women have more dense bones when compared to white cisgender men. “
“So this doesn’t mean that black cisgender women are more of a danger to women’s sports, especially in the sport of MMA, where we are punching and kicking each other. No, they aren’t. And neither are trans women in sports. Bring this up the next time someone says trans women have an advantage in sports because of bone density.”
Upon hearing this our first thought was to fact check it – due to the fact that Fox had previously tried to thwart scientific data in order to make a point regarding Lia Thomas.
What Fox didn’t mention is that the following graph is from a research outlining that bone density is important because it can help to predict the risk of getting a fracture.
But the other part of the graph is something she conveniently doesn’t mention. While black women aged 45 are less likely to get a fracture than white men of the same – the same cannot be said for her desired opponents – White and black women under 40 who are consistently the most likely to get a fracture (unless you also include Asian statistics).
Shortly after NCAA winner Lia Thomas compared herself to Jackie Robbins.
Bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture rates vary among women of differing ethnicities. Most reports suggest that BMD is highest in African-Americans, lowest in Asians, and intermediate in Caucasians, yet Asians have lower fracture rates than Caucasians.
Fox also shared another video attempting to prove the same point, this time calling back to height and reach advantages.
“Bone structure. Some people want trans women banned from sports because of bone structure. For instance, they often say trans woman’s shoulders or arms are too wide or too long, giving them a longer reach, a potential advantage and then a name.”
In terms of MMA, there’s never been a claim that we’re aware of that had touched upon trans women’s reach and height advantage. Reach and height advantage were a key point during the Lia Thomas swimming case because in her jump off the board alone you can see how height and length of limbs impacts the race.
What people have criticized is bone density and the fact that Alana McLaughlin in particular had been a somewhat talented lifter prior to her transition. She had disclosed she was benching over 300 lbs (136kg), deadlifting the back end of a car (according to some estimates that is roughly 680lbs/300 kg) and had run 6 minute miles. And while she wasn’t able to maintain these scores sans gonads – it’s not surprising.
Fox went on to say:
“Or they’ll often say trans women are too tall because of bone structure. They say these features make trans women a danger to cis woman. It’s a fairness and safety issue. But what about when it’s the other way around? “
“Like when the last transgender MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin fought her sister, her opponent was a whopping three inches taller than her and had almost a five inch longer reach. Was anyone thinking about Alana McLaughlin safety?”
“What about one of my opponents Ashley Evans Smith, who was two inches taller than me when we fought. I lost that fight. By the way. Maybe I should have complained that our height advantage was to unfair and unsafe.”
“Opponents of inclusion never think about safety or fairness for trans women. This is because they don’t really see us as true women. And that’s what this is really about. If they really didn’t see us as women, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”
Fox here is inadvertently addressing a different issue in MMA than what she started with. Due to how MMA is conducted as a professional sport a number of athletes chooses to cut weight in order to have a height/reach advantage. And while height and reach are interesting factors in MMA, neither of those equals to power or to the ability to withstand a strike of a certain power so as such it would be absurd to think McLaughlin’s opponent had an advantage over her. It would be equal to saying that Korean Zombie had an advantage over Volkanovski. As usual, Fox is attempting to mislead.
All of mixed martial arts carry an inherent risk, it’s only when a chemist gets involved that someone is calling the situation unfair. This is why TJ Dillashaw had to serve out a 2 year suspension and why athletes who have undergone a male puberty aren’t welcome to compete with women today – not because of height nor because of reach.