Matt Mitrione was suspended indefinitely by the UFC on Monday, hours after the heavyweight fighter and former NFL defensive lineman called transgender MMA competitor Fallon Fox “a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak” in an interview.
“The UFC was appalled by the transphobic comments made by heavyweight Matt Mitrione today in an interview on the ‘MMA Hour,’” the UFC said in a statement Monday evening. “The organization finds Mr. Mitrione’s comments offensive and wholly unacceptable and — as a direct result of this significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct — Mr. Mitrione’s UFC contract has been suspended and the incident is being investigated.”
“It ended up being a nightmare for him,” UFC president Dana White said on the UFC on FOX 7 conference call on Tuesday. “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… There was no upside.”
Fallon Fox responded to Mitrione’s comments on her Facebook page Tuesday.
"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. His comments do not reflect the spirit of our sport, where most competitors uphold values like respect and dignity."
The UFC announced in January it had drafted a fighter code of conduct, which covered criminal and other behavior that could harm the reputation of the MMA body.
Mitrione’s comments came at the end of an interview on SB Nation’s “MMA Hour” on Monday, a show hosted by Fuel TV’s Ariel Helwani. His comments about Fox — who was born a man and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2006 — came unsolicited during the end of the interview.
“I watched one of the fight videos and holy (expletive), I haven’t seen a man beat a woman (like that) since Chris Brown beat Rihanna,” Mitrione said in the interview. “That’s exceptional how he beats innocent, unknowing women like that.”
Mitrione also asked whether Fox would pursue a hate crime prosecution if she loses to a woman because “she’s imposing on his freedom as a tranny.”
And Mitrione wasn’t done.
"She’s not a he. He’s a he," Mitrione continued. "He’s chromosomally a man. He had a gender change, not a sex change. He’s still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That’s a couple years younger than I am. He’s a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That’s ridiculous. That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak.”
Fox, 36, made her MMA debut last May and has beaten two female fighters. She has reportedly been cleared to apply for a license to fight in Florida, where she is expected to take on Allanna Jones in a Championship Fighting Alliance bout next month
The debate whether Fox should be allowed to fight women has been a heated topic in MMA since she announced in March that she was post-operative transgendered.
“The UFC is a friend and ally of the LGBT community and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect," the UFC statement continued.
Mitrione, who played nine games for the New York Giants during the 2002 season and attended Purdue, halted a two-fight losing streak at UFC on Fuel TV 9 on Saturday as he knocked out Philip De Fries in 19 seconds.