Transgender athletes competing in MMA has been a topic of debate in recent years. Trans women, including the famous Fallon Fox, have drawn the ire of many an MMA fan for competing against cisgender women.
In 2022, fight fans were given a sneak peek at what to expect if trans women were to compete against men. At World Class Fight League 32, held at The Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa, Florida, trans woman Gita-Marie Figueroa locked horns with Shane Mistretta.
The fight was somewhat competitive in the opening minute, with Figueroa completing a couple of takedowns and stringing a few submission attempts.
However, her fortunes turned sour as Mistretta started unloading a barrage of strikes from close range, ultimately knocking her out at the 2:35 minute mark of the very first round.
Check out Shane Mistretta's knockout of Gita-Marie Figueroa below:
Shane Mistretta boasts an amateur record of 6-3, while Gita-Marie Figueroa holds a record of 1-2 in the amateur ranks, with both her losses coming via first-round knockout.
Figueroa's only MMA win came against 34-year-old Gregorio Gonzalez via unanimous decision at WCFL 31 in February 2022. In March 2023, she clinched a split-decision win against Brittany Vaughn in kickboxing.
Who was the first openly trans MMA fighter?
American fighter Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender fighter in mixed martial arts. 'The Queen of Swords' holds a rather impressive record of five wins against one loss.
Starting her pro career with a TKO win over Elisha Helsper at King of the Cage - Wild Card in 2012, she would go on to register two back-to-back wins before facing her first and only defeat against UFC fighter Ashley Evans-Smith at Championship Fighting Alliance 12 in 2013.
Watch Fallon Fox vs. Ashley Evans-Smith below:
Fox gained further notoriety in 2014 when she broke Tamikka Brents' orbital bone during a fight. Furthermore, in 2020, 'Queen of Swords' was presented with the 'Bravest Athlete' award for her achievements in the realm of mixed martial arts.
Many in the combat sports community, including UFC commentator Joe Rogan, have on numerous occasions slammed the decision to allow biologically male fighters like Fox to compete in women's sports.