If you know me, you know MMA is my favorite sport. One of my favorite fighters, male or female is Roxanne Modafferi. There is no one who seems to have as much fun as her when fighting. Roxanne makes you proud to be a fan of the sport. Win or lose, when she fights, you know you are going to be entertained. I will have many interviews here with fighters, but I am honored and proud to have Roxanne be the first one.
Q: First Roxanne, I want to thank you for doing this. I am a huge fan and it is such an honor to have you agree to it.
A: Thanks a lot Jason. The honor is all mine.
Q: Can you start out by just telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, where you train, things like that.
A: Well, I'm an only child, born in Deleware raised in South-Easterm Pennsylvania, and went to High School and College in Massachusetts. I majored in Japanese Language and Literature, and minored in Linguistics. I moved to Japan straight out of college, in order to become fluent in Japanese. I got a job teaching English, which I am still doing now. I trained for 4 years at Wajyutsu Keisyukai, which is a great group of people, but I just left them and became freelance this summer. I'm training at various places now, including the AACC and K-taro dojo. My main trainers are Hiroyuki Abe and Kiuma Kunioku.
Q: Now I know that early in your life you developed a love for Japanese culture and the language. What fascinated you so much about it?
A: I started watching anime, and I just really liked what I saw. Part of it was never-give-uo, always get-back-up warrior spirit that permeated all the anime I;ve watched, especially Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. Then when I studied the language, I found I jsut really enjoyed speaking it.
Q: Did you know then, that it would become such a big part of your life?
A: Yes, I decided upon graduating high school that I wanted to major in Japanese in college, and had to seek out college's that offered it as a major. It wasn't easy.
Q: You started with martial arts by practicing Tae Kwon Do. What other martial arts did you get into after that?
A: I tried Kempo Karate (2 years), Uechi Ryu (for a few months), then Judo (3 years), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (3 years), and simultaneously BJJ, submission, grappling, Muah Thai, and MMA.
Q: I know you enjoy writing and have had articles printed in some magazines. Where have you been printed thus far, and what do you write about?
A: I've written for Full Contact Fighter: write-ups about Smack Girls and women's MMA. Then I wrote a quarterly column for boutreviewusa.com for a few years, which was popular but the English site went down (the Japanese one is still up). Sometimes I write for fightlinker.com
Q: You also want to write a biography about your time as an exchagne student in Japan and also a fantasy novle. What amde you want to do those, and any idea when we can expect them?
A: I almost finished my biography, but then my computer crashed and I lost over half of my work, so I've been discouraged ever since to re-write anything. If I can get a publsiher or agent interested in it, I'll be motivated to pick it up again. As for my fantasy novel, I just don't have the focus and energy to commit to it right now. I'm very inspired by Dragon Lance and Wheel Of Time.
Q: Now, if memory serves me, you had your first fight in November of 2003 for Smack Girl against Hikaru Shinohara. How did that go, and what do you remember about it?
A: I remember thinking that my life would be cahnged forever, and I would be transformed into I-don't-know-what. It wasn't really like that. I was just a normal (extremely happy) woman afterwards. Before the fights at the weigh-ins, Ms Shinohara made some comment about me being in trouble since I had "such a big nose' sicne I was a foreigner. Maybe she was threatening to break my nose? It was funny, especially because my Japanese wasn't so great at the time.
Q: Was fighting actually something your family supported at the time, and how doe they feel now?
A: My parents encouraged me to follow what my heart desires, but are, of course, extremely worried about me. My mom told me the other day "Oh, it's not fair! Why did you ahve to grow up, move away, and go fight in a cage?" But she always give me a stocking full of athletic tape (bought on sale) and Aleve (my favorite anti-inflammatory) for Christmas. My dad and step-mom get my power bars (Harvest Grain :) )
Q: Since that time, which fight are you most proud of, if there is a specific one?
A: That would be my fight against Jennifer Howe. It was a stand-up battle, even though I don't consider my stand-up game as so great. We slugged it out, and then I finished it with a triangle.
Q: What is your favorite and elast favorite part of the sport?
A: My favorite part of the sport is parring MMA in training. My elast favorite is getting injured and having to skip training.
Q: Are you in favor of women getting five minute rounds?
A: Of course. It was like that from the beggining untill Elite XC.
Q: One of the things that first made me a fan is you always seem to be having so much fun fighting. Are you really always that happy in there?
A: Yes :-) It's great!
Q: Is there any one fight or an goal you set for yourself that you still want to accomplish?
A: Beat all the other women in the world. Especially Tara LaRosa and Shayna Baszler to avenge my losses.
Q: Do you ahve any favorite fighters to watch?
A: I love watching Aaron Riley fight. ALso Hideo Tokoro because his grappling is so slick, Hideki Kadowaki, K-Taro Nakamura, Osawa Kenji, and Yushin Okami. Everyone from Keisyukai
Q: What do you consider you biggest strength, and what is something you still want to improve on?
A: My biggest stength, I think, are my transitions, and use of the cage. Something I'm woring on right now is my physical strength.
Q: As a female fighter, what did it mean to you to have Gina Carano and Chris Cyborg main even a big show in the U.S.?
A: It was a huge victory for me as a female figher. They wouldn't have been in the main event, if they weren't recognized as skilled competitiors. All those who say women shouldn't fight can stuff it! :-)
Q: YOu recently fought for Strikeforce in a match I personally was upset wasn't part of the televised card. What did that fight mean to you?
A: That fight meant the world to me. For a year of recieving absolutely no fight offers or interest in me, I finally got a big chance to fight for the largest organization putting on women's fights, show Marloes that I did win the first time fair and square, and get a chacne to become known nationally, and to prove to myself that I have imporved my skill over the past year. I failed. In everything I mentioned. (personal night from me. Roxanne did not fail. Losing a fight does not mean you failed, and as someone who has watched most of her fights, she has improved greatly)
Q: Now obivously with training and everything else you ahve, you are very busy. But when you ahve time, any otehr hobbies or activites you enjoy?
A: I lvoe watching American TV series, such as 24, Prison Break, The Ultimate Fighter, etc, as well as Japanese anime like Naruto and One Piece. I also love Dance Dance Revolution. And I blog... a lot. I'm on Facebook and also Myspace (nickname roxyfighter).
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Roxanne Modafferi.
A: Every day is different because of my shift-style work schedual. Let's describe a Tuesday. Wake up at 5:30AM. Have breakfast while watching some Disney movie. Do sit-ups and push-ups and squats. CLean. Blog. Surf the net. Talk to mom on Skype. At 9:00AM, walk out the door to go to training. Have a private striking/MMA lesson with Kunioku-san for an hour (short, because on Monday I did a hard morning session, and hard night session). Eat a packed lunch, go home and surf the web, or take a napy. Walk out the door to go to work at 2:00PM. Work from 3:00PM till 9:30PM. Arrive home at 10:00PM, surf the net, blog, sleep at 11ish.
Q: With the elimination of Pride, MMA isn't as popular in Japan as i once was. Do you see that changing, and what will it take to change it?
A: MMA is till popular, but the casual fans aren't really as attracted to it anymore, it seems. I think it will take more promoting, and a TV deal to make it boom again.
Q: Do you think the fans are more appreciative of the sport therethan in the U.S.?
A: That's hard to say, on many different levels. I think the casual Japanese fans appreciate the skill and technique more than the casual American fan who wants to see banging and blood. But the hard-core fans are the same anywhere.
Q: Is there anyone you train with now, that maybe people have not heard of, who you think is going to be a star some day, or even just name some of the people you train with.
A: That's a tough question. Takafumi Otsuka is a really talented Japanese fighter who trains at Abi Abi Combat Club. He's fought in Deep and Dream. Hopefully he'll be able to fight in the States someday.
Q: Do you ever see the day when there is a major women's only company in the U.S.?
A: It's possible, but not yet. People who are big fans of women's fighting tend to be hard-core fans, and they alone can't support an organization. I hope in the enxt five years, one can survive.
Q: Do you have a website. Can you give out where people can find you and what they will find there?
A: www.63fight.com has my profile, record, links to fight video's, photo galleries galore, a store, etc.
www.myspace.com/roxyfighter has my blog, which I update regularlym and you cans end me messages (non stalker only please, hehe j/k)
Q: I told you I am a big fan. What does it mean to you to ahve people tell you that they are a fan of yours?
A: It's really cool and flattering. I feel honored if something I say or do can inspire someone or inspire them to better THEMSELVES, or bring someone excitement waching my fight.
Q: Favorite Actor, tv show, movie, and musician.
A: I love Bruce Willis and Keifer Sutherland, and tv show is 24, the movies are Die Hard and Lord Of The Rings, and the music groups Nightwish, and Rob Zombie.
Q: Describe Roxanne Modafferi in five words.
A: Dilligent, positive, enthusiastic, forgetful, and happy.
Q: Outside of the otehr websites mentioned, anything else you ahve going on that you would like to plug or promote?
A: A few otehr websites: check out www.fightergirls.com. Tons of women fighters post there. Also www.fightlinker.com is a comedy MMA blog that is hilarious, and the guys support me, as well as MMA.tv
Q: Obivously fighters need sponsors. Are you sponsored by anyone that you want to plug, and if youa re looking for sponsors, how can they contact you.
A: Thanks to Sprawl, Fulltilt, Fightlinker, Team Finisher, and Ifight Athleteics. I am looking for sponsors for my next fight, so if anyone is interested, please contact my manager Shu Hirateat Shu (at)boutreviewusa.com
Q: ROxanne, thanks so much for doing this. I beleive you are everything that is right about the sport, and this was an honor. Any last words before you go.
A: Thanks for all the support! Last words? Just that life's more fun when you stay positive! Everyone is a warrior in their own way. Be a happy warrior!