Monday, May 31, 2010

Roxanne Modafferi Interview #2

Roxanne Modafferi is not one of my favorite fighters. She is one of my favorite athletes. Roxanne is the definition of everything that has made MMA my favorite sport for 17 years. Always improving, always enjoying what she is doing, and always respectful. I was so excited when I heard she was getting her rematch with Tara LaRosa at the recent Moosin Pay Per View. I have long stated pound for pound Roxanne was among the elite in the sport, and I felt this was her chance to prove it. In fact, some know, I guaranteed she would win. That is no knock on Tara, as many will say Tara is the best in the sport. That is just my confidence in Roxanne, and Roxanne made me look smart in winning a close split decision. On a night of some decent fights, Roxanne and Tara had the fight of the night, and the lasting memory of the respect between her and Tara after the decision was announced. Here is my interview with Roxanne about the fight, my second with Roxanne, and she may not know it yet, but I will want another after Roxanne wins a major title, an opportunity she has earned and deserves.

Q: First, Roxanne, thanks for agreeing to a second interview.
A: You're welcome!

Q: For those who may have missed the first one, can you tell a little about
A: I'm a middle-class American girl who graduated from college with a
major in Japanese Language and Literature, with a minor in
Linguistics. I moved to Japan to become fluent in Japanese and work
at a lucrative translation job, but that hasn't happened yet. In the
meantime, I fell in love with teaching English and will probably do
that for a while. Oh yeah, I'm also a pro fighter, and have been
training some form of martial arts since middle school. My record is
15-5. I have been called "crafty" by some fans, and "The Happy
Warrior" by others.

Q: Congratulations are in order on your impressive win over one of the top fighters in the sport Tara LaRosa. Many called her number one pound for pound. Would you agree?
A: I would agree, actually. Sarah Kaufman is great and Cyborg is scary,
but Tara has proven herself again and again against many of the top level women in this sport.

Q: Did you really go to dinner with Tara the night before? What do you talk about in
a situation like that?
A: Oh yes, we did. We talked about the state of women's MMA, what we
both do for a living outside of fighting, who we'd like to fight
someday, how promotions treat us, what sponsors we got, who we're
training with nowadays, what TV shows we're watching, what music we
like, what movies we've seen, etc.

Q: Is it easier to fight someone you respect like that and are friendly with or does
that make it harder?
AL It totally depends in the person. I usually don't get buddy-buddy
with my opponents before fights. I don't go to huge lengths to avoid
them, but I do need to feel some amount of competitive drive towards
them. Tara is a special case. But I wouldn't want to hang out on
fight day.

Q: Going in, it was no secret, Tara wanted it on the ground, and you wanted it
standing. But did you feel comfortable you would be OK if it did go to the ground?
A: If I was sure I could get a dominant position, or at least a neutral
position, I'd be happy to take it to the ground. I wanted to avoid
her getting on top of me, at all costs. In our previous fight, she
proved she could hold me in mount.

Q: In round 1 there was an incredible battle where she really was working for that
takedown and you two were locked up. Were you more trying to keep it standing, or trying to make sure if it did go down, you were on top.?
A: That's funny you picked that out, because I kept changing my mind.
For a moment, I felt like maybe if I tripped her and we fell, I'd be
on top, so let's do it....but no, I just got reversed against the
cage, so I must avoid going down at all costs....wait, right now if we
go down, I could get a good posit... nope, she has a better grip, I
better stay standing....what if I try a hip throw right now...! I
couldn't decide.

Q: Near the end of round one, you really had her in trouble. Did you think you were
going to be able to finish her at that point?
A: Firstly, I was shocked she fell down. I thought, "....WHAT, did I
actually drop her?" and I hoped so bad I could finish it right there.
But she actually worked her way back up to her feet out from under my
mount, which is totally amazing.

Q: Did that round one give you more confidence, for the rest of the fight?
A: Yeah, it did give me a lot of confidence, actually.

Q: Round three was the one I was most impressed with. She got it down and on top,
but really it was you doing most of the work from the bottom and going for submissions. At any point did you think you had here there?
A: She caught me with a solid punch which dropped me and made me really
dizzy, so I threw myself backwards, trying to put some space between
us, so I could have another moment to recover. Actually, I really
wanted to do a backwards roll-hand stand and pop up, like 'Ta da!" but
it failed because I was still rocked. Would have been cool. I was
excited to get the triangle, and hoped to sink it, but it was a little
off. I had a feeling she wasn't going to get it, and I knew that if I
transitioned to arm bar, she might escape, but it was a long shot.

Q: After the fight, did you think the judges were going to give it to you. For me I
thought they would reward her for being on top, not realizing you were the one doing the work.
A: She was throwing a lot of punches from the triangle and they hurt a
lot. My skull is still sore from them now, a week later. I was hoping
the judges wouldn't notice how much they were bothering me. I wasn't
sure who the judges were going to choose. For me, we were even.

Q: I scored it 29-28 for you. When the scores were read, the first one was 30-27
and before he said it was for you I thought "They are giving it to Tara." Do you
remember when that first score was read, and did the 30-27 worry you."
A: I don't know, it was just really suspenseful.

Q: So would you say this is the biggest win of your career?
A: Yes, I would!

Q: If Tara is one of the best, if not the best, then obviously this puts you in
that category as well. I have been saying for the longest time, pound for pound you are one of the best. Do you feel this cements you in that list?
A: I do feel that I have joined the list as one of the p4p best. I'm
kind of embarrassed to word it like that because I don't want to sound
arrogant, but from this fight, I really noticed a major improvement in
my own ability as a fighter. Even if I had lost, would have felt good
about my performance. I grew in so many ways, and I've had this
anxiety that I'm good "for a girl" but not "as a fighter." Now I
finally feel I can say, "I'm a good fighter."

Q: What made the biggest difference between your two fights with her? Was it that
your striking has gotten so much better?
A: Yes, my striking, I'd say, and transitions between stand-up and
grappling. For example clinching or take downs.

Q: You are now tied 1-1 with Tara. Do you want a tie-breaker?
A: Some day. I'm enjoying being even, right now.

Q: I admit, I was not expecting much from this show as a whole. Looked forward to
your fight, and one other one. However the show was so much better than I expected. And the general feeling is you and Tara had the fight of the night. Is that a sense of pride for you?
A: I am very proud, and I'm proud of Tara, too.

Q: How were the Moosin people to deal with?
A: The Moosin people were awesome! They really treated us well, with
respect, and prompt responses to any concerns or questions.

Q: So whats next for Roxanne Modafferi?
A: More improvement! Hard training! Ice cream sundaes!

Q: Anything I may have missed about the fight you want to talk about?
A: You didn't comment on my awesome Happy Warrior Fan that I entered the
ring holding. :)

Q: So where can people find out online and things to find out more about you?
A: I am everywhere online and on the forums. twitter is @roxyfighter, I
have a regular myspace blog at "Roxyfighter" which I am told is
entertaining, and I'm on facebook, and ALSO I regularly pop into my
live chatroom, at my website

Q: Anything you want to take the time to plug or promote?
A: Thank you to my sponsors, especially Fightchix, Sprawl, and
combatcorner. Also I owe the majority of my striking improvement to
my trainer Kiuma Kunioku, and a lot of good MMA coaching to Hiroyuki
Abe and excellent training at the AACC gym. Thank you. Also I
produced Happy Warrior Japanese fans, so check them out at my website!

Q: Looking for any sponsors? If so, how can they reach you?
A: email me and I'll put you in touch with my manager!

Q: Roxanne, again congrats on a huge win, and thanks for making me look smart in
guaranteeing you would win. You are one of my favorite fighters, and favorite athletes, and everything that I love about the sport. Any last words before you go?
A: Thanks so much for the support!! :D

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