Transgender mixed martial artist Fallon Fox, the 37-year-old fighter who was born a man and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2006, became the face of a contentious debate among the medical and scientific communities when her past was brought to light in early March.
Weeks later, the MMA community also remains split on the issue. While some of Fox's contemporaries, including former Strikeforce champion Cris "Cyborg" Santos and UFC fighter Julie Kedzie, have voiced support for Fox's cause, several notable figures within the sport, including UFC ringside announcer Joe Rogan and UFC bantamweight contender Miesha Tate, have staunchly opposed the idea of a former man fighting women.
UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez falls into the latter category.
"I don't think she should be able to fight women," Velasquez flatly responded when asked about Fox at a recent media luncheon.
"Having the same bone structure and everything else as a man, I think definitely does give her an advantage."
Fox has already booked her next fight in the semifinals of Championships Fighting Alliance's women's featherweight tournament, a result that seemed dicey as recently as a few weeks ago. The Florida State Boxing Commission continues to review Fox's license, and her opponent, Allana Jones, has yet to sign a bout agreement. However, Fox's camp isn't worried.
"They're not going to have a problem finding an opponent," Fox's manager Brett Atchley recently told Outsports. "Somebody wants to be the one who beats Fallon Fox. And they'll see it as an opportunity to make more money. If Allana Jones doesn't fight, so what? Someone else will."
Regardless, the uncharted waters of Fox's situation continue to leave many observers without a concrete answer, including Velasquez.
"Maybe have a separate [division], I guess," the UFC heavyweight champion finished. "I don't know. But I don't think that's fair."