A Florida regulatory agency that oversees the state’s athletic commission has found insufficient evidence to prove transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox committed fraud prior to her most recent bout.
An investigation into Fox’s fight license is now closed, according to a ruling today by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
The decision clears the way for Fox (2-0) to compete at CFA 11, which hosts the semifinals of a women’s featherweight tournament on May 24 at BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. The event is expected to air live on AXS TV.
Fox, who underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2006, applied for a fight license as a woman prior to a March 2 bout with Ericka Newsome, which she won by first-round knockout. On her licensing paperwork, she noted that she already was licensed with the California State Athletic Commission. As it turned out, the commission merely had given her a receipt for her application and was still reviewing her application, which included documentation of her switch from male to female.
The investigation, which was opened shortly after Fox’s transgender status went public, was not centered around her gender status, but whether she had willfully misled regulators by stating she was licensed in California.
Section 548.071 (2) of Florida’s combat sports statutes states the boxing commission may suspend or revoke a combatant’s license if it’s found he or she has “committed fraud or deceit in securing any license or permit.”
On March 27, Fox’s attorney submitted an affidavit to the FDBPR stating she had “a reasonable belief” that the receipt she received from CSAC was indeed a license and, “No one from the [CSAC] has informed me otherwise … particularly since [the receipt] instructed me to provide it as ‘proof of licensure.’”
Fox, who’s maintained in interviews she didn’t intentionally mislead regulators about her license or transgender status, also pointed out additional information that led her to believe she was cleared to compete in California, which included a “signature of licensee” line and a number appearing to note her licensure.
Shortly after the investigation kicked off, CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the licensing paperwork may have confused Fox and said his commission would revise it. He later said the commission likely would license Fox to compete in the Golden State.
A rep for the FDBPR said the regulatory agency is also in the process of updating its rules to address transgender fighters. The Association of Boxing Commissions, of which the Florida commission is a member, enacted a guidelines for transgender fighters in 2012 that mirror those of the International Olympic Committee.
In today’s ruling, FDBPR Assistant General Counsel Roger R. Maas wrote, “Based on the foregoing, the evidence does not support prosecution of the specified violations of Chapter 548, Florida Statutes, or the rules promulgated thereunder. Therefore, this case should be closed.”
On Monday, Fox’s originally scheduled opponent, Allana Jones (2-1), agreed to keep the matchup in place after initially expressing reservations about being at a potential disadvantage. Another tournament semifinalist, Peggy Morgan, already has come out against Fox competing and vowed not to fight her.
CFA promoter Jorge de la Noval rescheduled the upcoming event in a show of support for Fox, whose bout with Jones is expected to serve as the co-main event.