Former pro wrestler and MMA fighter Daniel Puder retired from combat sports two years ago. Since then he's committed himself to My Life My Power, a national anti-bullying and youth development non-profit.
When I reached him by phone today to talk about the reaction to trans MMA fighter Fallon Fox, Puder, who retired from MMA undefeated at 8-0, was effusive.
Zeigler: There are a lot of people saying some mean things about Fox on discussion boards. What would you say to those people?
Puder: If it's race or religion or LGBTQ people, at the end of the day, everybody is different. You have to live your life who you are and treat each other well.
Zeigler: I can imagine how Fox must feel seeing some of these anti-trans comments. What would you say to her?
Puder: When she's a superstar, people are going to come up to her wanting their picture with her, and they're the ones talking crap about her now. It's crazy to see how people change their perspective when they think you can give the something. I've had people say a lot of crap about me in my life, and now people want to hang out with me.
Zeigler: What do you think people can learn from Fallon?
Puder: Everybody has something to teach you. People should learn from her. How does she want to affect the world? What does she want to teach us? I learn from kids. I learn from 14-year-olds and 8-year-olds things I didn't know before. Someone like Fallon, who's gone through a lot of change in her life, who has hopes and dreams, I'd love to learn why she does what she does.
Zeigler: Some fans are saying she should not be allowed to fight other women. Do you agree with them?
Puder: Some women have testosterone as high as men. And some guys have higher testosterone than others. How are we deciding who competes against who? If someone doesn't want to fight her, then they don't have to. But if Dana White wants to put her in a fight, then it's pretty cut and dry. If she's participating within the law, then she should be able to fight.
You can see more of what Puder's up to these days at My Life My Power.