Mark Gordon Pictures is set to produce a feature biopic about Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
As anti-transgender legislation is debated in statehouses across the U.S., the writing team of T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper are giving Fox’s life story the big-screen treatment. Fox will serve as a consultant on the film, while Mark Gordon and Bonnie-Chance Roberts will produce for Mark Gordon Pictures, alongside John Papsidera.
“Fallon Fox is a remarkable woman and athlete who has withstood and achieved so much in her life and whose story is far too little known. She is a universal, living icon of strength and persistence. It is a true honor to work with her, and the indomitable writing team of T and Allison Cooper, to bring her experiences more to light and to share her with the world,” Roberts said in a statement.
Upon first entering the MMA cage, Fox hid her transgender identity when competing professionally, fearful that being outed would end her career. As she rose in the MMA ranks, Fox received a call from a journalist threatening to reveal her secret.
Fox chose to instead announce she is a transgender woman in an Outsports and Sports Illustrated article in 2013, only to face an onslaught of transphobic abuse from the media and the MMA league, and an ensuing debate over whether a woman who was male at birth should be able to fight in women’s MMA divisions.
“I’ve had a great time so far working with the producers and writers bringing this story to life, and I hope this film sheds some light on the topic of trans athletes in sports. This story needs to be told now more than ever,” Fox said in her own statement.
News of the Mark Gordon Pictures project comes as 34 states consider legislation that would ban transgender girls from playing on girls’ interscholastic sports teams.
Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee and Mississippi have already adopted those bans into law, joining Idaho, which became the first state to do so in 2020. Fox previously appeared in Michiel Thomas’ 2015 documentary Game Face alongside Terrence Clemens, a closeted gay basketball player who was accepted to play collegiately in Oklahoma. The film follows both athletes through their coming-out process.
“As transgender/LGBTQIA writers and creators, we know in our bones the inherent value in and necessity of telling stories from the inside out, rather than from the outside looking in. We’re thrilled to be teaming with Mark Gordon Pictures to help bring Fallon’s undeniably powerful and relevant story to the screen,” T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper added in their own statement.