The life of Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender fighter in Mixed Martial Arts, is the subject of a new film in development at Mark Gordon Pictures.
Fox’s story will be scripted by wedded writing team T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper, whose credits include NBC’s “The Blacklist,” BBC America’s “Copper” and Netflix’s “The Get Down.”
Originally hiding her transgender identity when she began competing in MMA, Fox feared transphobia would bring rejection from the wildly popular league. After nearing the upper echelons in ring, a journalist threatened to out Fox, who then boldly told her truth in interviews with Outsports and Sports Illustrated. The stories both inspired and caused backlash as well as further transphobic rhetoric in a debate over whether a woman who was assigned male at birth should be able to fight in women’s divisions in MMA.
Fox will serve as a consultant on the project. Mark Gordon and Bonnie-Chance Roberts will produce for the company alongside John Papsidera. The subject matter is especially timely, 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 made those bans law, joining Idaho, which became the first state to do so in 2020.
Fox previously starred in Michiel Thomas’ 2015 documentary “Game Face” with Terrence Clemens, a closeted gay college basketball player. That film follows both athletes through their coming out process.
“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,” said Fox.
Gordon and Roberts applauded Fallon as “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.”
The Coopers added that “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 writers are represented by Paradigm, Mosaic and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.
Mark Gordon Pictures’ upcoming slate includes “Marked Man” at Amazon, based on the life of Marcus Garvey; “The Flag Makers,” a documentary feature that explores the nation’s largest American flag factory where nearly every employee is a refugee or immigrant; and the live filming of the Tony Award-winning musical “Come From Away.”