Transgender competition in combat sports: Position statement of the Association of ringside physicians

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Abstract

The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) is committed to the concept of fair competition. It advocates for two equally skilled and matched athletes to keep bouts fair, competitive, entertaining, and, most importantly, safe for all combatants. Numerous studies have proven that transgender women may have a competitive athletic advantage against otherwise matched cis-gender women. Likewise, transgender men may suffer a competitive disadvantage against cis-gender men. These differences–both anatomic and physiologic–persist despite normalization of sex hormone levels and create disparities in competitive abilities that are not compatible with the spirit of fair competition. More importantly, allowing transgender athletes to compete against cisgender athletes in combat sports, which already involve significant risk of serious injury, unnecessarily raises the risk of injury due to these differences. Hence the ARP does not support transgender athlete competition against cisgender athletes in combat sports.

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Bascharon, R., Sethi, N. K., Estevez, R., Gordon, M., Guevara, C., Twohey, E., & deWeber, K. (2023). Transgender competition in combat sports: Position statement of the Association of ringside physicians. Physician and Sportsmedicine. Taylor and Francis Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913847.2023.2286943

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