A biopic chronicling the life of Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender MMA fighter, is getting the big-screen treatment from Mark Gordon Pictures and husband and wife writing team T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper.
Fox originally hid her transgender identity when she began competing professionally as a mixed martial arts fighter, fearful that transphobia would lead to her being rejected by the league. As she began to triumph in the ring and neared the pro semifinals, Fox received the phone call she had been dreading: a journalist threatening to out her to the world. Fox took the narrative into her own hands, revealing that she is a transgender woman in an Outsports and Sports Illustrated article in 2013. What followed was an onslaught of vitriolic, transphobic abuse from the world press and the MMA league, and an explosively controversial debate over whether a woman who was assigned male at birth should be able to fight in women’s divisions in MMA fighting.
“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.
Her story is increasingly poignant, as 34 states are currently considering 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.
“Fallon Fox is a remarkable woman and athlete who has withstood and achieved so much in her life and who’s 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,” said Mark Gordon Pictures’ Bonnie-Chance Roberts.
Fox will serve as a consultant on the film with Mark Gordon and Roberts producing for Mark Gordon Pictures alongside John Papsidera.
“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,” the Coopers said.
T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper are a husband-and-wife writing team currently serving as co-executive producers and writers on NBC’s The Blacklist. Other TV writing credits include The Get Down for Netflix and BBC America’s Copper. Their most recent film collaboration is the award-winning Man Made, a feature documentary that explores the world of transgender bodybuilding that was distributed by Journeyman Pictures and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
They are represented by Paradigm, Mosaic and Jackoway Austen.