Despite criticism, Peggy Morgan standing by decision to not fight Fallon Fox


peggy-morgan.jpgFeatherweight Peggy Morgan (2-0) has acknowledged a video filmed by her and her trainer about Fallon Fox (2-0) was “inflammatory,” but she sticks by her decision not to fight the 37-year-old transgender fighter.

“Socially, yes, she is a woman,” Morgan today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “But do I necessarily want to get in the cage with this person? Do I believe that she has no physical advantage over me? I’m not convinced, and I do honestly believe she has a physical advantage.”

Morgan said she and trainer John Fain were angered by an interview Fox gave to AXS TV’s “Inside MMA” and fired back. Fox said any fighter who refused to face her was doing so out of fear.

“I’m sure she’d like to see herself as a great WMMA fighter, but I think a lot of her success has to do with the fact that she has advantages,” Morgan said.

During the response, Fain repeatedly referred to Fox, who underwent gender reassignment in 2006, as a man and claimed she lied on commission paperwork before assaulting her previous opponent in the cage earlier this month. Morgan, who sat by the trainer, said nothing.

Several days after the clip was released, Morgan said she agreed with the trainer’s message, but not his choice of words. (Fain could not be reached for comment at the time of this writing.)

“Maybe it wasn’t right, but there comes a point where you do things out of emotion and not necessarily reason,” Morgan said. “From when I talked to him, he was trying to bring anger back on him. He was trying to draw attention to him instead of me.”

But that’s where attention – and anger – has been focused since the video’s release.

“I think he was trying to be provocative,” she said. “I don’t think he was trying to be as hurtful as he was.”

Morgan was far more measured in a blog posting she wrote on her management’s website, and elaborated her position on the issue of potentially fighting Fox in an eight-woman featherweight tournament, which is currently set to continue on May 24 under the Championship Fighting Alliance promotion banner. CFA 11 takes place at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.

“I understand why people are advocating for Fallon and I appreciate that it is important to protect her rights, but I think it should be just as important to protect the safety of the other women in the tournament,” she wrote. “Until I am presented with conclusive evidence that a fight with Fallon would, in fact, be fair, I will not be entering the cage with her.”

Fox and Morgan are on opposing brackets of the tournament and beat their respective opponents in the opening round. Fox knocked out Ericka Newsome in 39 seconds with a knee, while Morgan unanimously outpointed Revelina Berto.

They aren’t on a collision course just yet, but Morgan stepped forward to voice her decision not to fight Fox when she believed the CFA and Florida State Boxing Commission, which is set to oversee the May 24 event, weren’t taking action on the matter. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees the commission, is expected to conclude an investigation into Fox’s license on April 5, though it has indicated that she may still compete professionally. 

Morgan next is slated to meet Ashlee Evans-Smith in the semifinals of the tournament on May 24. Fox, who denies misleading the FSBC about her transgender status, is expected to meet Allanah Jones, though Jones’ coach has not signed off on the bout due to concerns that mirror those of Morgan.

Morgan’s manager, Jason Ellis, said of his client’s choice: “We stand behind our athletes and Peggy Morgan 100 percent.”

Fox, meanwhile, blasted Morgan and Fain’s video in a posting on her official Facebook page, saying they were mostly worried about losing the $20,000 offered to the tourney’s winner.

“I wonder if I should argue that her long bone structure is an unfair advantage to all the female competitors in the tournament? Nah, I won’t do that,” Fox said. “Because I realize that her advantage is something that I must overcome. It is a challenge and I welcome it!”

While Fox claims the medical and scientific community backs her, others, including MMAjunkie.com medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin and veteran MMA fighter/osteopath Rosi Sexton, say there’s a lack of evidence to prove she isn’t at an advantage in the cage.

Morgan said despite heated rhetoric around the issue, she bears no ill will toward Fox.

“I understand she’s angry with me right now, and I predicted she would be,” she said. “I do believe everything I said is true. Regardless of that, I still like her. I think she’s a good person, and I sympathize with her position. It must be very difficult to be somebody who feels like they’re born into the wrong body. But at the same time, life isn’t fair. You don’t always get everything you want, and there’s plenty of people who want to fight, and they aren’t licensed for a variety of reasons.”

(Pictured: Peggy Morgan)

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