UFC color commentator Joe Rogan is not one to shy away from giving honest opinions on even the most controversial topics. Back in 2013, Joe Rogan expressed his strong disapproval for allowing transgender female fighter Fallon Fox to compete against cisgender female fighters in professional MMA.
Joe Rogan gave the opinion on his show ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ that aired on YouTube until September 2020 after now-retired Fallon Fox declared her gender identity during an interview with Outsports and became the first openly transgender fighter. A male at birth, Fox made the revelation following two straight KO wins to start her MMA career.
Joe Rogan’s strong remarks about Fallon Fox were made out of a general belief that even after sex reassignment procedure, a person’s physiology does not change which may put cisgender female fighters at risk of getting seriously hurt. Although Rogan expressed himself in harsh words, many female fighters, including former women’s champion Miesha Tate, expressed similar concerns.
The original video of Joe Rogan’s remarks has been taken off the internet but the Fear Factor host has spoken on the issue on multiple occasions and still stands by his opinion.
“She calls herself a woman but I tend to disagree. She used to be a man but now she has had, she’s a transgender … And she wants to be able to fight women in MMA. I say no f***ing way. I say if you had a dick at one point in time, you also have all the bone structure that comes with having a dick. You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints. You’re a fucking man. That’s a man, OK?” Joe Rogan said in a 2013 episode of his podcast.
Joe Rogan received widespread heat as a result, and his views about transgender female athletes became a talking point following the $100 million Spotify deal when Spotify employees accused him of being transphobic.
Joe Rogan’s opinions about Fallon Fox are a part of the major debate surrounding transgender athletes across all sports
Opinions about Fallon Fox and the controversy surrounding her emergence were due to the brutal nature of mixed martial arts. Still, the perceived advantages and disadvantages that transgender athletes have over their cisgender counterparts are not new.
While a significantly large number of people in the sports world believe that transgender women have higher muscle mass, bone density and overall strength advantage, some research has shown that the sex reassignment procedures significantly reduce these advantages. However, the matter is ambiguous in nature and claims made on either side are not backed by definitive data.
Fallon Fox later wrote a guest editorial for Bloody Elbow to refute the claims made by those who criticized her for fighting against cisgender women. In the editorial published in 2014, Fox mentioned that bone mechanics and physiological advantages could result from many factors other than the male past of cisgender athletes.
“Has anybody ever watched the movie 42? 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”, Fallon Fox concluded in the article.