The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) moved to suspend one of its fighters after he referred to a transgender fighter as “a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak.”

Matt Mitrione made the comments in reference to trans woman fighter Fallon Fox, who last month was forced to come out as transgender, following the discovery of her 2006 gender reassignment surgery by reporters.

Speaking in an interview with Ariel Helwani Monday on The MMA Hour, Mitrione spoke of Fox, who he continually referred to as “he” and accused of lying in order to win fights.

He said: “She’s not a he. He’s a he. He’s chromosomally a man. He had a gender change, not a sex change. He’s still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That’s a couple years younger than I am. He’s a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That’s ridiculous.

“That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” he continued. “And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting. You should be embarrassed yourself. And the fact that Florida licensed him because California licensed him or whoever the hell did it, it’s an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that.

“The woman that’s fighting him, props to you. I hope you beat his ass, and I hope he gets blackballed and never fights again, because that’s disgusting and I’m appalled by that.”

A statement from the UFC condemned Mitrione for his comments, announced his suspension and said he was being investigated for the interview.

It read: “The UFC was appalled by the transphobic comments made by heavyweight Matt Mitrione today in an interview on ‘The MMA Hour.’ The organization finds Mr. Mitrione’s comments offensive and wholly unacceptable and – as a direct result of this significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct – Mr. Mitrione’s UFC contract has been suspended and the incident is being investigated. The UFC is a friend and ally of the LGBT community, and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect.”

The length of Mitrione’s suspension has not yet been announced.