Over the years some of the most persistent criticisms of Joe Rogan could be filed under the banner of transphobia. For years upon years he was a huge critic of Fallon Fox.
For those unaware, Fallon Fox was born as a man – had gotten married had joined the US Navy and had opted to undergo a sex reassignment surgery in 2006. Now none of this would be particularly shocking if Fox hadn’t chosen to become a female MMA fighter in 2011. Fox had gone on a winning spree in 2012. But it wouldn’t be revealed Fox was a transgender athlete until March 2013. At that point California State Athletic commission and Florida Athletic commission were under fire for issuing a license to Fox.
UFC color commentator and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan opposed Fallon Fox receiving licensing, saying,
First of all, she’s not really a she. She’s a transgender, post-op person. The operation doesn’t shave down your bone density. It doesn’t change. You look at a man’s hands and you look at a woman’s hands and they’re built different. They’re just thicker, they’re stronger, your wrists are thicker, your elbows are thicker, your joints are thicker. Just the mechanical function of punching, a man can do it much harder than a woman can, period.
Fox went on to compare the outrage aimed at her to that aimed at an African American playing in the MLB – Jackie Robinson in 1947:
Remember when commentators said Jackie Robinson had an unfair advantage because black people had “larger heel bones” than the white men he was competing with? Are we repeating history yet again with bogus bone claims? Can we couple these bogus claims with Rogan’s horrible language that was aimed at me from the video I put out last week? I’m a transgender woman. I deserve equal treatment and respect to other types of women. I feel that all of this is so ridiculously unnecessary and horribly mean spirited.
Fastforward to 2021 – now, an ex military operative who had undergone a sex reassignment surgery was booked to compete against professional MMA Fighter Celine Provost at Combate CF. Provost agreed to fight a transgendered opponent.
This came as a shock to a lot of people familiar with MMA – and many fighters who are usually reserved were vehemently against it. One voice that was suspiciously absent from the list of critics was that of Joe Rogan.
Rogan had secured a multiyear exclusive licensing deal with Spotify back in May of 2020. The deal is rumored to be worth in the neighborhood of $100 million per year.
But with that, came a caveat – Rogan’s catalogue loaded with longform conversations with troubling personalities had to be purged. – and further a community of trans employees at Spotify tried to pressure the corporation into rethinking the deal.
“I’m personally bothered by his transphobic comments and am concerned with the way he might spread misinformation,” one Spotify employee wrote last year on an internal networking channel, Business Insider reported about the employees pressuring Spotify to ditch Rogan.
In their pile of arguments were a 2018 discussion about trans athletes including New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard who Rogan described as having “gorilla hands” and “size 14 feet” and a conversation with Jim Breuer during which Rogan suggested “dumb people” and “idiots” transition gender in order to be praised as “amazing”.
But having survived the onslaught of angry spotify employees Rogan opted to lay low – when the MMA fight happened he was silent on the subject and had refused to discuss it on his podcast when one of the guest brought it up.
But this restraint went of the window during a rare interview he did for his friend and comedian Tim Dillon. During a 90 minute podcast Joe Rogan appeared to have done a 180 and was now completely fine with an MMA fight featuring a trans gender female vs a biological female.
“Well the trans MMA thing was big. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t valid. It was people that don’t want any criticism whatsoever about trans people.
And I was like: ‘Look, I don’t have a problem with trans people right I have a problem with someone pretending that they’re a biological woman and fighting women.’.
Once you say you’re trans and everybody says okay I’ll fight her –
Fine. I’m fine with that. And in fact MMA is one of the best places for that
Because you know exactly who your opponent is. Unlike like this swimmer. Was it UPenn? Is that what it is? The swimmer that’s like lapping all these biological women, that’s f—-d because they don’t have a choice they have to compete. “
Rogan did go on to reiterate he believes trans females have a biological advantage over males but he was a good deal more restrained than he would’ve been once upon a time. You can check out the interview in its entirety on the Tim Dillon youtube channel.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.