Top Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters lightweight Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, bantamweight Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon and One Fighting Championship featherweight champion Honorio “Rock” Banario declared their opposition to transgender fighters competing in women’s MMA.
“That’s not right because a transgender fighter who will compete in the women’s category still possessed the attributes and strength of a male fighter,” said Folayang, 28, a sanshou expert.
“For example, if ever Honorio (Banario) decided to have a sex change, do you think his male attributes will change too? I think he will remain a male fighter despite the change in his sex organ and that’s not fair to his authentic female opponent,” he added.
The issue of transgender fighters joining women’s MMA caught the attention of the sports world lately with the entry of transgender Fallon Fox, 37, who underwent sex change in 2007, into the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).
“Fox still has the bone structure and power of a male athlete that’s why I’m against it,” said Belingon, who will compete against Masakatsu Ueda of Japan for the One Fighting Championship bantamweight interim title on May 31 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I’m really against transgender fighters in women’s MMA because it is very unfair. If he wanted to fight why not fight in the men’s division since he’s still a guy despite the sex change,” said the 23-year-old Banario, who will defend his title against Japanese Koji Oishi.
Though there were controversial cases of transgender athletes competing in Philippine athletics, there is no known transgender Filipino MMA fighter to date.