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Amid furor, Fallon Fox and UFC officials address Matt Mitrione suspension

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Dana White said Matt Mitrione should not have been doing an interview in the first place. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

Dana White said Matt Mitrione should not have been doing an interview in the first place. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

A significant portion of public reaction to the UFC’s suspension of Matt Mitrione for verbally assaulting a transgender fighter on Monday has been even more hateful and vile than the words spewed by the heavyweight during his ill-fated online radio appearance. The comment section on the SI.com story was even taken offline because of the offensive tone.

However, the responses by those most closely associated with the matter — Mitrione’s bosses at the UFC and the athlete he targeted with his rant — were more measured.

“Matt Mitrione went well beyond disagreeing with the medical experts who say I should be able to compete as a woman, and personally attacked me as a fighter, as a woman, and as a human being,” Fallon Fox, a 37-year-old postoperative transgender female who is 2-0 as a mixed martial artist, wrote on her Facebook page. “His comments do not reflect the spirit of our sport, where most competitors uphold values like respect and dignity.”

That was the theme also taken up by Lorenzo Fertitta, chairman/CEO of Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC. “Whatever your thoughts are on the whole transgender issue, I’ve listened to [what Mitrione said] and, in my opinion, it came off as a bit mean-spirited and is something I think warranted review,” Fertitta told Yahoo! Sports. “Obviously, this is not the easiest issue and a lot of people are questioning both sides of this thing. A fair debate and discussion of the issue should be allowed. But when you call her disgusting, and Buffalo Bill, that’s another matter. It warrants review. I think it’s the same thing the NFL would look at and the same thing that any professional organization that is at the level we’re at would at least take a look at.”

Reading between the lines, it would seem that rather than cutting Mitrione loose — for calling Fox a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” for comparing her to a serial killer character in The Silence of the Lambs, for putting the UFC in a hideous light — Fertitta is inclined to use this as an educational opportunity. That was the tenor of his rebuke, at least.

Dana White also has fighter education in mind, but not so much focused on the issue at hand. The UFC president wants to simply teach his athletes when to do interviews and when not to. “I’m going to talk to these guys,” he said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters covering this weekend’s finale of The Ultimate Fighter. “The only time these guys really need to be doing interviews is leading up to fights. You know? It ended up being a nightmare for him.”

White addressed the substance of Mitrione’s rant only obliquely. “It’s one of those things. It’s just a pain in the ass, you know what I mean?” he said, later adding, “What was the point of that interview? There was no point in it. Now it’s caused him a bunch of headaches and problems. It’s caused us a bunch of headaches and problems for no reason whatsoever.”

– Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Apr 10, 2013
  • 49 comments
    roald.maliangkay
    roald.maliangkay

    However-much I dislike the words Mitrione used, I do agree with what he said. I think we need some proper discussion before we allow transgender fighters to fight, men or women (although the issue will be more with female fighters). There have to be some rules agreed on first. As some people have pointed out, though perhaps in a way that sounds bigoted, there is a difference between some one who became transgender 10 years ago, and some one who began changing (and submitting herself or himself to hormone therapy etc.) a year ago. Let's sit down first, and discuss this. This has NOTHING to do with bias — although some of the comments I have read certainly sound sexist and homophobic (grow up, guys) — but with the physical practicalities. That is what bothers Mitrione, and I think for good reason. Why, by the same token, do female tennis players get the same money for best out of 3 sets, even though it means fewer chances of epic tennis matches? Stamina, right? Isn't it, then, possible that more recently transgendered female athletes may stop using the hormones that are supposed to make them more female, thereby increasing their strength and stamina? How will they be tested? 

    Doesn't read replies
    Doesn't read replies

    Apparently freedom of speech when it comes to voicing your opinion on sexual deviants means you will be punished if you dare to disagree with the freak show and praised only if you agree with it. Good for Mitrione, at least he had the courage to disagree with the social manipulation that is being forced on us all and punishing those who dare to disagree!!

    homerwilson1970
    homerwilson1970

    No more PPV's for me.  Dana Is 100% wrong on this suspension.

    homerwilson1970
    homerwilson1970

    so any guy losing his weenie can be a woman?? WTF?????

    Chik
    Chik

    Boycott UFC until it admits that it's support of homosexuality and tranny's fighting women ends!!!  I am from FL and I am going to write the Gov and ask why a tranny was given a license to fight women?

    Chik
    Chik

    Boycott UFC until Matt Mitrionne and his fans get an apology!!!

    Chik
    Chik

    Boycott Sports Illustrated for siding with the freaks, perverts, LGBTQ!!!

    homerwilson1970
    homerwilson1970

    who would you want as a neighbor?  Matt Mitroine a decent man. or some transgender-ed freak of science like fallon and human nature that is a disgusting sick man?

    golfrice
    golfrice

    Danna White is an idiot..................Mitrione is dead on!  Thanks for being honest and not worrying about that damn political correctness crap.

    Loki
    Loki

    Considering that the OVERWHELMING response has been in SUPPORT of Mitrione, shouldn't the article's topic be centered more on how he was correct? We get articles attempting to convince us that scientific fact isn't correct.....Fox IS a MAN....every article on the topic should address this SIMPLE FACT....no sugery or estrogen changed the fact that HE has a 'Y' chromosome....he is just a man without a !@#$

    hunte567
    hunte567

    I wasn't a fan of Matt but now I'm a huge fan.  Keep telling it like it is?  Just because you take an apple and put in on an orange tree doesn't make it an orange.  It is disgusting!

    TheDedTV
    TheDedTV

    If he feels more comfortable as a woman and wants to live his day to day life as a woman, that's fine. I support that 100%.

    But if he wants to live as a woman and proceed to fight women that is an entirely different issue. Physiologically, Fox is a man and biotechnology hasn't advanced enough to in any way change that. Would Dana White support Junior Dos Santos if he, or any other man, slapped on a dress and a bra and beat up women? I'd hope not. The fact Fox took some hormones, got implants and had the outie made into an innie doesn't make it any different than that scenario. 

     

    Worse is that he took several fights against women while hiding the fact he'd lived, and trained, until he was 30 as a man. A transgendered athlete wouldn't hide the fact that they were transgendered until her opponents started demanding they be tested for performance enhancers because of their, for a supposed woman, superhuman strength. Only when such accusations made it clear his biological gender was going to be exposed did Fox admit her biological origins.

     

    Mitrione wasn't railing against a transgendered athlete. He was railing against a man who made himself look like a woman to go around beating up unsuspecting female athletes. His devious actions in the sport are what make him a disgusting freak, not his transgendered status .

     

     

    DavidMichaelBuxton
    DavidMichaelBuxton

    If Mr. White is so intent on taking this stand, then I think that he should pick up the microphone in the middle of a UFC pay-per-view and say what he wants to say on the issue, but he knows that the UFC fan base isn't interested in watching a man beat up women...

    joeshine730
    joeshine730

    Fallon Fox is a freak defying God's will and sickening all around him. Everyone would want matt as a neighbor instead of the Freak Fallon vomit fox.

    joeshine730
    joeshine730

    Thanks Matt for speaking the truth. America Loves Matt Mitrione.

    Bernie
    Bernie

    Politically correct speech, a form of conditioning akin to brain washing

    ragman99686
    ragman99686

    Hard comments against this person. But the fact remains, this is a man. 

    OzzyA
    OzzyA

    DRUGGIES IN THE UFC!!!!!  I SAY BOYCOT THE UFC!!!! WHATS NEXT???? LGBT RALLIES AT THE FIGHTS???? HAVE AT IT DANA WHITE!!!!!

    OzzyA
    OzzyA

    I can't believe, of all the causes that the UFC could stand behind.......THIS IS THE BEST THAT COULD BE DONE!!!!  With all the famine in the world, with all the crime, with all the injustices in the world. THIS IS WHAT THE BIG GUNS AT THE UFC DECIDED TO SUPPORT????? Unbelievable!!! 

    golfrice
    golfrice

    Matt was DEAD ON!!    Screw you MMA/UFC................I will get my fight fix somewhere else..........you morons!!

     

    TheDuckOfDeath9
    TheDuckOfDeath9

    No why I don't agree with the comments. I do have a problem shim entering a sport directly ptiing him against women. He could have golfed, etc. It seems unfair. Was he a fighter on that level pre-op as a man? No, I'm sure. so he obviously has some sort of advantage to rise to the top so quickly. 

    OzzyA
    OzzyA

    MMA shouldn't have to be host to this non-sense!!!!  Fallon Fox's overwhelming desire to cut off his genitals, doesn't change a single thing about the person that was created naturally!!!!  I thought there were anti-doping rules, or rules that prevent the use of medication to alter performance?!?!?!  This fool decides to take drugs to change his stature, his naturally produced bodily functions, and READILY ADMITS it......AND SOMEHOW THE RULES DON'T APPLY!?!?!?!?!!?  NOT ONLY DOES HE ADMIT TO TAKING DRUGS....HE ADMITS HE DID SO FOR OVER 6 YEARS!  HE IS A DUDE, THAT FELT HE COULD EXCEL IN THE FIGHTING RANKS BECAUSE HE WILL!!! HE'S FIGHTING WOMEN!!!! All the drugs in the world won't change that!!!!  When he hits rock bottom and runs out of drugs, everything he fought to suppress to be able to beat up women will come back!  THE HAIR, THE DEEP VOICE, THE MUSCULATURE!!!!  Then he'll really look pathetic!!!

    TheDillionaires
    TheDillionaires

    This scenario is why there shouldn't be gender designations in MMA. If you make the weight, you fight in a specific division irrespective of your sex.

    RedNeckerson
    RedNeckerson

    This is a highly aggressive sport with lots of trash talk. Fox is naive to think he wasn't going to get his share of it. The female fighters ought to be crying fowl that this guy gets to fight with the women. Political correctness is even wussifying the UFC.

    joeshine730
    joeshine730

    What furor over Mitroines remarks?. every single person I have spoken too thinks Matt was great speaking out against a freak of nature Fallon Fox. Matt should be complimented for speaking out against the disgusting Fox.

    Loki
    Loki

     @ChikYou're the problem with arguments against Fox....we have VALID reasons for banning a man from beating up women....you come in here with a hate filled rants that has little to do with the actual topic and make everyone look like a buch of bigotted freaks....

     

    homerwilson1970
    homerwilson1970

     @Chik Fallon Fox is a disgusting disgrace to the laws of nature and should be exiled to zaire.

    PatrickCaraway
    PatrickCaraway

     @TheDedTV

     you are absolutely right.. its ridiculous he was suspended for speaking his mind...if he would have said hes sick because hes gay and gay people are disgusting ok that's pushing it a bit..But Dana white wants to be politically correct or his ego is just so out of control he thinks f- you I don't care what anyone thinks my opinion is the only one whos counts because im dana white and im king..

    TheDedTV
    TheDedTV

     @OzzyA They stand behind a lot of causes. The Military, Child Hunger, The Make a Wish Foundation, etc...All this is just spin to avoid the headache of having the LGBTs railing against the UFC because of Mitrione's words. Fox'll never appear in the UFC. Dana resisted women fighting in the UFC until just a few months ago and still isn't solidly behind it. He still seems to see it as only a slight step up from foxy boxing at this point but has accepted that, just as it has with the men between UFC 1 and now, as the techniques and athletes improve so will their credibility.  There's no way he's going to risk derailing that rise to credibility by risking turning it into a circus sideshow by throwing a transgendered fighter into the mix.

    Plus, several states are already pushing towards (or already have) only allowing  "transgender by choice" athletes to register under their original, biological sex and if that spreads, it won't be an isue as Fox will either have to fight as a man or not fight at all. He's just doing what he has to to appease the LGBT community. He'll make Mitrione issue a public apology via press release stating he only being chivalrous and otherwise supports LGBT equality before reinstating him, the UFC will make a big donation to GLAAD and they'll hope it all blows over.

    Sportsblabber
    Sportsblabber

     @joeshine730 A good friend of mine has a five year old girl who has insisted she's a boy -- ever since the age of three.  She dresses like a boy, plays with other boys, and shuns all girl identified activities.  She's the kind of person who, when she grows up will look back and say, "ever since I can remember I felt like I was a boy."  If you think there is anything freakish or disgusting about this sweet little girl who one day will likely live as a man then you have a lot of learning to do -- about being a decent human being.

    ChickenWolf
    ChickenWolf

     @joeshine730 Although i believe it is unfair for an individual with a male body type to fight females, I am well aware that there is nothing wrong with being transgender. Hopefully this is the message you were trying to get across with your post. Its dangerous for an individual with male features to be fighting women. That said, every rational person i've talked to about it supports Fallon Fox in her desire to become a women.  Let people be what they want to be. It doesn't affect us in any way if Fox wants to be a women instead of a man. In fact, i praise her strength for going through this transformation in the public spotlight. We all know what Mitroine was trying to say but obviously he went too far when he compared her to a perverted serial killer.

    DavidMichaelBuxton
    DavidMichaelBuxton

     @Sportsblabber  @joeshine730

     5 year olds have no sense of sexual identity... lots of girls are tom-boys when they're that young, you don't get a sexual identity until puberty... only an idiot would say that a 5 year old is transgender...

    AndyZernial
    AndyZernial

     @joeshine730  

     You just proved how big an idiot you are by making that comment. You could have argued all day long about this man fighting in a woman's division, but to say put a child down now to save her the misery makes you just as sick a person as the transgender fighter!

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