While the CFA was hoping to gain some exposure with this past weekend’s 145-pound women’s tournament opening round, the attention they ended up getting was not quite as they expected.
Around 48 hours after their March 2 event in Coral Gables, Fla., had concluded, the CFA was alerted that one of its female fighters, Fallon Fox, had previously been a man for 30 years of her life.
In the time since the news initially broke, CFA owner/promoter Jorge De La Noval has been besieged with questions about Fox and her participation in the event, and what it could mean for the future for not only her in the promotion, but the other women moving on to the second round, as well.
Fox won her tournament bout by first-round knockout, but has since come under scrutiny when the Florida State Boxing Commission opened an investigation upon finding out that the 37-year-old Fox used to be a man.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com, De La Noval shed some light on some of the pressing questions that surround him and his promotion in the wake of one of MMA’s most unique happenings.
MMAWeekly.com: Jorge, probably the first question on everyone’s mind was, did you know that Fallon Fox was transgendered prior to her participation in the March 2 CFA show?
Jorge De La Noval: We didn’t know about the situation at all. We actually found out on (the following) Monday. The commission gave us a call on Monday morning and then I spoke to her around mid-day Monday and I spoke to her manager, so I knew before the press started posting articles and whatnot.
MMAWeekly.com: Shortly after news broke regarding Fox, you said she had the full support of the CFA. Was there a lot going into that decision or did you know right away that is what you wanted for her?
Jorge De La Noval: That was an immediate reaction. We don’t hand out licenses, that’s a government body that does that, they give out licenses. She’s licensed as a female, on her driver’s license she’s a female, the government recognizes her as a female, so we recognize her as a female. As long as she has a license, we’re going to stand behind her.
We are not kicking her out of the tournament; that we are not going to do. We got a lot of calls saying that she should be fighting and giving all their opinions, and we’re not here to judge. We’re nobody to judge. She’s simply a female fighter and as long as she’s considered as such, she’s going to be part of the tournament.
MMAWeekly.com: Should Fox be denied a license, do you know what you’ll do about her slot in the tournament?
Jorge De La Noval: Honestly, we’ll figure it out once we’ve gotten to that bridge. We haven’t had time to actually sit down and put that much thought into this whole thing. It’s been overwhelming, media has been calling, and it’s been crazy. We’re not used to this, not used to this media attention. It just kind of happened overnight, so we haven’t put that much thought into it to be honest with you.
MMAWeekly.com: What about the other women in the tournament? What if they don’t want to fight Fox going forward?
Jorge De La Noval: It kind of hit everybody by surprise and I think most of the girls from the get-go were under the impression that it wasn’t fair and whatnot. Now I guess everyone’s more educated on the whole situation and understanding the hormone treatment and what she’s had to go through and why she’s considered a female.
The way I see it, she’s considered a female and she’s a female fighter and they’re going to have to take the fight. That’s their prerogative, that’s their decision, and they’re going to have to say why they’re not stepping up and taking that fight. I cannot make that decision for them, but if I were in that position I’d take it in a heartbeat because I would be fighting a very talented girl that would put me in the spotlight.
MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for your time, Jorge, is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
Jorge De La Noval: We considered ourselves the company that was flying under the radar for a while. With this week, it’s been crazy and to be honest with you, it’s given us a lot of publicity. And I’m glad from the get-go we said (to Fallon) to not be afraid, that we’re not going to kick her out of the tournament, and we were going to stand behind her and see how this all plays out.
We’re postponing our April card and giving her enough time over the next couple weeks to hear whether she’s going to get a license soon or if she’s going to be licensed already.
When the managers and fighters started calling, I told them the same thing, she’s having issues right now with the license and we’re trying to figure that out over the coming weeks. If any of the other girls would have gotten hurt or cut or anything, I would have done the same thing for them. The girls should be supportive of what’s happening and understand the whole situation.
(Photo courtesy of Fallon Fox)