Since mixed martial artist Fallon Fox revealed in March that she was born a man, the transgender fighter has been the subject of debate and scrutiny, by the public, by state sanctioning bodies who oversee athletic competition, by the medical community, and of course, by the men and women who populate the sport.
There has been both support for her inclusion from those who say that years of hormone therapy have eroded any muscle mass, strength and bone density advantages she would have had as a man, and arguments against her participation from those who believe the science on such matters is incomplete. And then there's the opinion of UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione, who not only objects to Fox competing with women, but sees Fox's pursuit as "sociopathic."
That was just one of the choice terms Mitrione used while discussing his feelings on the matter during Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. During his segment of "The Mitrione Minute," a brief interlude in which he gives his unabashed thoughts on various subjects, Mitrione -- appearing via Skype from a bar "somewhere in Europe," where he was celebrating his UFC on FUEL 9 knockout of Phil De Fries -- voluntarily unleashed on Fox, unprompted by any questions.
He began with a story mentioning that he watched the classic film "The Silence of the Lambs" last week, and likened Fox to the film's antagonist, serial killer Jame Gumb, who went by the nickname "Buffalo Bill."
"Maybe instead of being 'the Queen of Swords,' Fallon Fox should consider being "The King of the Buffalos," he said.
Repeatedly referring to Fox as "he" and "him," Mitrione said after viewing Fox's fight videos, he hadn't "seen a man beat a woman like that since beat Rihanna. That is exceptional how he just beats innocent, unknowing women like that. Incredible."
After telling another joke, host Ariel Helwani asked Mitrione, "Why do you hate Fallon Fox so much, and why do you keep calling she a 'he'?"
"Because she's not a he. He's a he," he said. "He's chromosomally a man. He had a gender change, not a sex change. He's still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That's a couple years younger than I am. He's a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That's ridiculous.
"That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak," he continued. "And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That's disgusting. You should be embarrassed yourself. And the fact that Florida licensed him because California licensed him or whoever the hell did it, it's an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that. The woman that's fighting him, props to you. I hope you beat his ass, and I hope he gets blackballed and never fights again, because that's disgusting and I'm appalled by that."
It was then mentioned by Helwani that Mitrione, who is usually a light-hearted jokester, had just "taken a turn to serious town," but Mitrione insisted it was for good reason.
"I'm glad I could make fun of him a little bit because he's obviously got some mental issues and wants to beat up on women," he said.
The UFC released a statement about Mitrione's remarks Monday afternoon.
The UFC was appalled by the transphobic comments made by heavyweight Matt Mitrione today in an interview on " The MMA Hour".
The organization finds Mr. Mitrione’s comments offensive and wholly unacceptable and - as a direct result of this significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct – Mr. Mitrione’s UFC contract has been suspended and the incident is being investigated.
The UFC is a friend and ally of the LGBT community, and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect.
For what it's worth, Championship Fighting Alliance's Allana Jones recently agreed to face Fox on a May 24 card, and the state of Florida has yet to declare any objection to the bout.
(Editor's note: You can watch Matt Mitrione's appearance on The MMA Hour below.)