A BBC radio host has admitted to being unaware of previous controversial comments made by transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox before conducting an interview.
The topic of transgender athletes in sports was a major news story recently after the International Swimming Federation (FINA) adopted a new policy that effectively banned transgender women from competing in women’s swimming competitions.
BBC’s Justin Webb invited Fallon Fox, MMA’s first openly transgender fighter, onto BBC Radio 4’s Today program to discuss the news. Webb’s decision to speak with Fox was quickly met with backlash and criticism from listeners due to violent statements made by Fox in 2020 about previous opponents.
“For the record, I knocked two out. One woman’s skull was fractured, the other not. And just so you know, I enjoyed it. See, I love smacking up TEFS in the cage who talk transphobic nonsense. It’s bliss! Don’t be mad”
While the tweet was deleted, Twitter users sent screenshots of it to Webb following his interview with Fox.
For his part, Webb openly admitted to not having knowledge of Fox’s previous comments before inviting the fighter onto his show. In a response to one tweet informing him of the situation, Webb stressed the importance of addressing the subject of transgender athletes as fairly as possible.
“I think you’re right Nikki. I had no idea (and frankly I am one of the better informed on this subject) and the producers didn’t either. We need to tackle these issues fairly but not from the ‘everyone calm down’ perspective that fails to note who is violent and who is not.”
Fallon Fox made her pro MMA debut in 2012 and went 3-0 before losing to future UFC veteran Ashlee Evans-Smith. “Queen of Swords” then defeated Heather Bassett via armbar in 2014 and last competed when she finished Tamikka Brent with strikes later that year.
What’s your reaction to a BBC interviewer admitting he wasn’t fully aware of Fallon Fox’s comments before interviewing her?