What’s next? After that bravura display of media marketing muscle that was the gay marriage whoop-tee-doo, what’s the encore? There has to be something else to force the rubes to identify themselves by their lack of enthusiasm for the latest cause / crisis. But … what? Front and center on NYTimes.com this evening:
By GREG BISHOP
Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender athlete in mixed martial arts and the most prominent in a professional sport in decades.
Fallon Fox, born Boyd Burton, found herself in the spotlight after coming out as a transgender fighter in mixed martial arts.
Thanks but no thanks on the “More Photos” offer.
I’m struck by the quote “first openly transgender athlete …” Is the New York Times implying that other women athletes used to be dudes, but we’re not supposed to know about it?
By the way, that much publicized 6’8″ center on the Baylor women’s basketball team who can dunk, is the WNBA’s #1 draft choice, and who recently announced was playing for the other (?) team …
Here’s a Sports Illustrated interview with Brittney Griner, and it’s like a Saturday Night Live skit during the seasons when Lorne Michaels is too cheap to spring for a black woman cast member. Brittney Griner is like Tracy Morgan in a dress speaking in falsetto, except that Griner wears a bowtie and speaks in a baritone.
A few skeptics have pointed out that Brittney Griner skipped the Olympics last summer despite being the most dominant player in the world of women’s basketball, and the Olympics being the chief showcase for women’s basketball. Some have commended the Baylor brain trust for not exposing Griner to the Olympic spotlight that greeted Caster Semenya, a South African youth who is built like an LSU cornerback, who won the silver medal in the women’s 800m at the London Games.
The Olympics introduced sex testing in the 1960s because the Nazis, the Soviets, and the North Koreans kept entering men in women’s events, but stopped making it regular after the Cold War. But, the Olympics reserve the right to demand sex testing in egregious cases, like Semenya’s.
Lots of real women runners complained about Semenya participating on the women’s side of the Olympics, but Semenya’s ex-East German coach and other managers artfully played the race card. How dare Europeans question a South African person of color? It’s just like apartheid! It’s sexism and racism rolled into one: sraxcism!
Granted, you may argue that the number of hermaphrodites and transsexuals are too tiny to matter, and that allowing people who are mostly men to beat women (sometimes literally, as in this MMA case) is not in the interest of women. But that’s not the point, the point is that there needs to be a new post-gay marriage cause, and a lot is beginning to be invested in R&D to determine which it will be. This is the second article the NYT has highlighted recently on this esoteric issue, so it definitely has a chance.
A commenter points out that an MMA fighter, retired NFL player Matt Mitrione, has already gotten in career trouble for saying out loud that mutilated ex-men shouldn’t beat up women for money. From Wikipedia:
On April 8, 2013 it was announced that Mitrione had his contract suspended by the UFC after making transphobic comments about trangendered fighter Fallon Fox during an interview on The MMA Hour,” Mitrione called Fox a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” who he hopes never fights again.
The UFC made a statement on Mitrione’s comments that read. “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. The UFC is a friend and ally of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect.” The suspension was lifted after two weeks when Mitrione’s next fight against Brendan Schaub was announced.
Now, you might think of Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as kind of a money-grubbing vulgarian who is looking to make money off of violent freak shows. But, now we know that, in complete contrast to that horrible mouth-breathing Matt Mitrione, Dana’s actually a friend and ally of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the struggle against transphobic comments. From MMAJunkie:
by John Morgan on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm ET
LAS VEGAS – UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione (6-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has thus far remained silent in regards to his recent suspension for breaching the UFC’s code of conduct. But with the promotion’s inquiry into the incident complete, Mitrione wants the world to know he’s sorry for the remarks.
“I want to apologize for my hurtful comments about Fallon Fox and a group within our society which, in truth, I know nothing about,” Mitrione told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I know now there’s an important line between expressing an opinion on a subject and being hurtful and insensitive. I crossed that line by expressing my views in an ugly, rude and inappropriate manner.”
The UFC froze Mitrione’s contract earlier this month for offensive remarks he made about transgender fighter Fallon Fox. He also was fined an undisclosed amount and, according to UFC President Dana White, complained about the hit to his pocketbook.
In the midst of a rant about Fox’s career as a professional MMA fighter, Mitrione called the 37-year-old a “lying, sociopathic freak.”
“Earlier this month, heavyweight competitor Matt Mitrione made offensive and hurtful remarks about an individual from the transgender community during an appearance on the ‘MMA Hour’ broadcast,” UFC Executive Vice President and COO Lawrence Epstein explained. “The UFC immediately suspended Mr. Mitrione from all duties relating to his position as a UFC athlete, pending the results of an investigation.
“As communicated to Mr. Mitrione in the form of a written reprimand, that investigation found he went beyond expressing an honestly held belief and that his comments represented a significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct. As a result, Mr. Mitrione received a significant monetary penalty.”
UFC officials declined to reveal the amount of Mitrione’s fine. However, multiple sources close to the situation repeatedly addressed the value as “significant.” Mitrione’s pay for his recent UFC on FUEL TV 9 win was not disclosed. This past December, he was paid $12,000 for a loss to Roy Nelson. He would have earned another $12,000 with a win.
$12,000 per fight for an ex-NFL player who fights every few months? No wonder Wikipedia says Dana White’s net worth is $150 million.
Many MMA pundits have taken issue with Mitrione’s short suspension, which lasted just 16 days before he was recently booked for a summer fight with Brendan Schaub.
Who knew that MMA pundits were paid up members of the Volunteer Auxiliary Thought Police?
“Mr. Mitrione has expressed genuine contrition for the harm he caused,” Epstein said. “Matt is not a hateful person, and we are confident in his sincerity to make amends.”
UFC officials said they are currently in contact with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to help Mitrione determine how best to work toward repairing his relationship with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In the meantime, Mitrione said he regrets his choice of words and will ensure that he never again makes the same mistake.
“I know there are people who look up to UFC athletes, and I let them and myself down by setting a very poor example,” Mitrione said. “I also want to apologize to Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White and everyone associated with the UFC.
You might almost imagine that Dana White is pretty good at manipulating people using powerful 21st Century tropes for his own profit, and that White suspending some meathead jock for objecting to a man who beats up women for money is a good way for Dana White to get even richer.
But that couldn’t be because Dana White is rich and can pay for expert PR help, in contrast to that awful Matt Mitrione, whom White employs for a few thousand dollars per month. (It could even be that this whole “controversy” was pre-scripted by UFC writers the way WWE feuds are scripted. If so, it worked like a charm, getting serious coverage in the New York Times.)
If F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were alive today, Fitzgerald would say, “The rich are different,” and Hemingway would have answered back, “You are absolutely right, Scott. For example, the rich withhold pay from their employees for making transphobic comments. That’s how we know the rich are better.”