This is without a doubt the post I am most excited to have. Bodybuilding and fitness is my passion, but MMA is my love. So to be able to do this roundtable, and do it with six amazing women is something I am very excited about. The women are Miesha "Takedown" Tate, Roxanne "The Happy Warrior" Modafferi, Tisha "Lil Bully" Rodrigues, Lacey "The Ladie" Schuckman, Sarah "TNT" McLeod, and Sarah "The Piranha" Goodlaxson. Some of the top fighters in the sport, and some of the future stars of the sport. Part one is name and word association and part two is specific questions. The initials by each answer represent each fighter, MT (Miesha", RM (Roxanne), TR (Tisha), LS (Lacey), SM (Sara McLeod), and SG (Sarah Goodlaxson). Also I want to thank Georgia Tsao from my favorite MMA website MMAggregate.com for helping me put this together.
Part one: Name/Word association
1. Chris Cyborg
2. Sarah Kaufman
TR: Great striker
3. Gina Carano
RM: Movie star
TR: Beautiful and talented
4. Dana White
RM: Smart businessman
LS: Cash cow
5. Scott Coker
RM: Highly influential in the MMA world
6. Tara LaRosa
RM:Stubborn and strong
TR: Great fighter and good rep for women's MMA
RM: Japanese fighters
8. World Class
RM: Sean and Kunioku
TR: Greg Jackson
10. Sparing Partner
RM: Sakura, Mai Ichii
TR: Someone you work well with and can learn from and vice versa
RM: Promote your opponent
Part 2: Questions
1. Which is better, same day weigh-in or day before?
MT: Day before
RM: Day before
TR: Day before
LS: Definitely day before. It gives you adequate time to refuel your body and prepare it for the challenge ahead. I also prefer weigh-ins a day prior to fighting because you can see your opponent, get a bit of the pre fight jitters out as well as get a read on your opponent. Then you can go home with your team and talk about how your feeling about your fight after seeing your opponent and get your mind in the proper state.
SM: Day before. I usually like to sleep in, relax and do nothing all day before a fight.
SG: Same day for me since I don't cut much... makes the weight difference more fair for me.
2. What is your most hated training exercise?
MT: Running sprints
RM: Kicking the thai pads, once, once twice, one two three times in a row, all the way to twenty, and then going back down.
LS: I hate doing hurdels!! My trainer/husband loves to kill the team with them and it works out your whole body. Not that I don't like the whole body work out but we always end up doing them after about 3 hours of class!!
SM: There is no exercise that I hate or even dislike. I appreciate the struggles that each one puts me through and I know that I can only get better with practice.
SG: I don't mind any of it.
3. Is cutting weight harder for women than men?
LS: Definitely for women!! We have to deal with a lot more obstacles, monthly cycles, retaining more water, as well as many other chemical differences. I can't cut 10lbs in a sauna in an hour if my life depended on it but I can do it by dieting and upping my cardio. SO I believe it's harder because not only do you have to train for the upcoming fight you also have to be loosing a steady number of pounds along the way so you can cut your last 2-7lbs in the sauna before weigh-ins.
SM: I don't think it's fair to say it's any easier or harder for a certain gender. Fighters make a choice of how much they are able to cut and it takes a lot of mental strength to reach any goal.
SG: Since I don't cut much weight I couldn't have a fair opinion on that!
4. Is there a way you think is best to wear your hair for a fight?
MT: Braided somehow
LS: I definitely say cornrows! It keeps your hair securely fastened thus not impairing your performance and they look pretty tough too!
SM: I hate ponytails- they can get very messy and uncomfortable. I haven't tried cornrows and I don't think I ever will. I really don't want to sit for an hour and struggle to take them out the next day. My favorite hair style is to make 5-6 sections of small ponytails from ear to ear, use elastic to make a half ponytail, then braid the rest and add elastics for additional support. Takes me less than 5 minutes to do and there's no problem taking it out.
5. What is the biggest difference between three and five minute rounds?
MT: Five minutes gives all styles a fair chance to implement game plans
RM: Three minutes suck, five don't. Three minutes encourages faster stand-ups which favor the striker over the grappler.
TR: Huge, cardio more than anything
LS: I feel it is imperative to have 5 minute rounds. You just can't accomplish much in 3. This is the case in more evenly matched fights because the feeling out time is much longer. It is harder as you fight tougher competition to break them down quickly. Also in more technical fights it's important for say a good BJJ fighter to have more time to work for a submission. Very rarely do you go in and get your first submission attempt, so you have to work, constantly transitioning for position and other submissions.
SM: The only difference is that the 3 minute rounds are too short!! The 5 minute rounds gives much more time to work a game plan.
SG: You obviously have more time to work for positioning with 5 minute rounds.
6. Who is the most underrated fighter in the sport?
MT: Lisa Ward
RM: I'm not sure
TR: So many
LS: Lana Stefanac. I feel that she doesn't get as much attention because she fights very rarely. I also think it has a lot to do with there not being a whole lot of females in her weight class. She is a BJJ black belt and undefeated in MMA! I don't know if she is still actively fighting because she teaches but I don't think she has gotten as much recognition for her contribution to the sport as she deserves.
SM: I think Zoila Frausto "The Warrior Princess" is going to shock the MMA world and open up a lot more opportunities for smaller weight classes. The 135lbs is so stacked, thanks to some amazing women like Sarah Kaufman and Miesha Tate. Zoila competed with the best of these women and now she's sneaking to the top of the 115lbs category. She could very soon earn a shot at Megumi Fuji, ranked #1 in the women's pound for pound listings. I believe that Zoila will be the next champion.
SG: I think Zoila Frausto deserves people looking at her in a more positive light. She works her ass off and fights her heart out.
7. Take yourself out of it. Who are the top five pound for pound in the sport for both men and women?
MT: Men- Frankie Edgar, George St. Pierre, Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Fedor Emelianenko. Women- Megumi Fuji, Sarah Kaufman, Chris Cyborg, Tara LaRosa, and Marloes Coenen
RM: Men- Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, after that I'm not sure. Women- Megumi Fuji, Sarah Kaufman, Chris Cyborg, Marloes Coenen, and Tara LaRosa.
TR: Men- Georges St. Pierre, Frankie Edgar. Women- Megumi Fuji, Roxanne Modafferi, Chris Cyborg
LS: Men- Anderson Silva, Jon Fitch, Georges St. Pierre, Gegard Mousasi, and Andrei Arlovksi. Women- Sarah Kaufman, Megumi Fuji, Chris Cyborg, Miesha Tate, and Lisa Ward
SM: Men- Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Mauricio Rua, Jake Shields, and Jose Aldo. Women- Chris Cyborg, Sarah Kaufman, Erin Toughill, Tara LaRosa, and Zoila Frausto.
SG: Cyborg!... After that I'm staying out of it haha
8. My dream fight would be against?
MT: Sarah Kaufman
RM: Shayna Baszler (avenge my loss) or Amanda Buckner. She is so talented but she said she might retire, so I wanna hurry up and fight her.
TR: Not at that level yet
LS: Carla Esparza rematch
SM: Zoila Frausto at 115lbs
SG: Lisa Ward. Nothing personal at all. Since I started training she was the person I paid attention to at my weight-class and it would be an honor.
9. What one men's fight and one women's fight would you pay to see?
MT: Urijih Faber vs anyone and Shayna Baszler vs Hitomi Akano
RM: Megumi Fuji vs Lisa Ward
TR: Megumi Fuji vs Felice Herring
LS: Georges St. Pierre vs Anderson Silva and Lisa Higo vs Jeri Sitzes
SM: Anderson Silva vs Jon Jones and Sarah Kaufman vs Chris Cyborg
SG: I think the fight I'm most looking forward to currently is Zoila Frausto vs Megumi Fuji.
10. One fight I will always remember is?
MT: Gina Carano vs Chris Cyborg
RM: Hitmoi Akano vs Chris Cyborg and Sarah Kaufman vs Miesha Tate. I've been paying attention lately.
TR: Gina Carano vs Chris Cyborg
LS: Vitor Belfort vs Marvin Eastman where Eastman incurred a vicious gash to his head by way of Belfort's knee
SM: My first live female MMA fight was the most inspirational experience. Julie Kedzie vs Kelly Kobold was in August 2007 at the Bodog event in Vancouver, BC. I was working as a ring card girl and when the women were just about to walk out, I left the job to go watch the fight in the stands!
SG: Any of the women I first started seeing fight when I first started training. They inspired me and made me excited to step in the cage- especially Cyborg.
11. The biggest missconception about female fighters is?
MT: We can't fight haha
RM: We get easily damaged
TR: There aren't enough talented women
LS: That we are lesbians
SM: The biggest missconception is the puzzlement of why a woman would want to fight. Physically and mentally we are complete equal to our male counterparts so it takes a fool to seriously wonder why we wouldn't enjoy a challenge.
SG: I don't like people hollering in a sexual way when women step in the cage. Our time in the sport is so new and women's sports in general are still developing... there still aren't quality wrestling programs in schools for women and we don't have access to a lot of things the men do just yet... the talent pools in all weight-classes aren't as deep as the men either and therefor we need to work harder in all aspects so that we can help build the sport! Being given respect when we step in the cage is a big thing that is needed!
12. My proudest moment in the sport so far is?
MT: Winning the women's 135lb tournament and earning a shot at the Strikeforce World Championship Title!!
RM: Defeating three opponents in one night to win the K-Grace Tournament in Japan. And the bitter sweet moment of being slammed by Sarah Kaufman. I was showing that my technique could hold off a stronger opponent..... and then was shown that my technique really was no match for brute force.
TR: My last fight. It was more about what I went through to get to that point of victory.
LS: When I won my amateur MMA title in February 2008. I knew then that I was destined to continue with the sport.
SM: After 6 months of training and an amateur record of 1-1-1, I was honored to fight for the Armageddon Fighting Championships. After taking zero damage in a main event fight one weekend before, I was a fill-in fighter with one weeks notice. On the 3rd consecutive weekend, I competed on stage in Bikini at the BC Provincials. My proudest moment was at the end of July....a very impressive month!
SG: My submission win in under a minute.
13. WHy are sponsors so important to a fighter?
MT: Because they are the financial backers and they support fighters to achieve their dreams and they often don't get the credit they deserve.
RM: Because promoters can't pay the fighter enough to survive, so the fighter needs outside support.
TR: They help promote us...help us get fights, give us cool gear and are there to support us like family through not just the up's but especially the down's
LS: Well for me they are my saving grace. I don't make very much fighting and I can't fight every weekend so it is a hard sport to earn a living at. I train everyday but Sunday and that's my job and unfortunately training hard doesn't pay for all the things you need in order to train at peak effeciency, let alone your bills. My sponosrs have quite literally put the shirt on my back. Without sponsor clothing I would still be wearing clothes I bought in 9th grade! I still don't pay all my bills, but I love this sport and will do it until I literally can't anymore! Sponsors allow me to continue doing what I love even if all it is is the clothes on my back. They are vital to my training as well as provide a support system outside of my team.
SM: Food, shelter, supplements and a gym are very expensive. Basic living is pricey and affording it can be stressful. Sponsors can be very helpful to a fighter along this journey. MMA is an influential sport, together, sponsors and fighters can be very empowering.
SG: When we are just starting out it's hard to work full-time and train full-time... any help that is given is like heaven.
14. Which is better, the old Pride scoring or the 10 point must system?
MT: They both have pros and cons but I like the Pride scoring better because they judge on the overall fight.
RM: I'm not sure
TR: 10 point
LS: That's tough because in some situations they are both good. I personally understand the 10 point must more and I think a lot more AMericans do to so although at times the fighters pay the price for this system, I don't think we will say any change anytime soon.
SM: The 10 point must system is necessary to prevent bias scoring. It makes much more sense to score each round seperately, as opposed to judging the fight on it's entirety.
SG: 10 point
15. In the movie of my life __ would play me.
MT: Scarlett Johansen, I really liked her character in Iron Man 2. She's tough yet feminine.
RM: I would play myself..... but Milla Jovevich would be freaking cool.
LS: Duh! I would play me :-)
SM: If there was a movie made of my life, I would gladly act as myself. If an actrss were to play my part, then my name would forever be labeled and assocaited with what that actress does in her spare time. I want to be responsible for everything about my character, on and off the screen.
SG: A short skinny person haha
16. In five years I will be?
MT: A world champion.
RM: I'll be 33, living in Japan, hopefully teaching part time, maybe teaching at a dojo part time, a few belts on my wall...
TR: Making huge waves in the sport
LS: Ranked in the top 10 strawweight or featherweights in the world!
SM: I hope to be a champion MMA fighter with the Ms. Bikini Olympia title. Outside of competing, I will be increasing awareness of different issues around the world.
SG: Graduated from college and fighting professionally.
17. If I wasn't a fighter I would be?
MT: A cake decorater
RM: A writer or teacher or translator
TR: Interviewing fighters, hosting MMA events
LS: Not breathing! Seriously though I would probably be an interior decorator
SM: If I wasn't fighting at events, I would be encouraging healthy living and positive choices. A lifestyle coach, fitness trainer, and motivational speaker.
SG: Working in the field I'm going to college for- Exercise Science
18. Favorite movie?
RM: The Die Hard's, The Resident Evil's, The Lord of the Rings
TR: Lost Boys
LS: Devils Rejects
SM: There are waaaay too many great movies to pick a favorite!
SG: Anything with Will Ferrell
19. The two best fighters to play partners in a buddy cop movie would be?
MT: Quinton Jackson and Jason Miller
RM: Tara LaRosa and Molly Helsel
TR: Tonya Evinger and Michelle Ould....LOL
LS: Tonya Evinger and Quinton Jackson
SM: Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley
SG: Clay Guida and Jason Miller
20. What five songs are always going to be on your IPOD?
MT: Heart of a Champion" by Nelly, "Breaking the Habit" by Linkin Park, "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls, "Who Will Save Your Soul" by Jewel, and "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera.
RM: "The Dance" by Battlestar Galactica, "Borderline Case" by Evangelion, "The Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails, "Bad Japanese" by Fireball, and "Looking up" by Paramore.
TR: I'm Not Afraid, Let the Bodies Hit the Floor, Hip Swing, and Pop Champagne
LS: I don't have an IPOD :-( but my five favorite songs on CD are "Billionaire" by Travis McCoy, "Here Comes the Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze, "St. Stephen" by the Grateful Dead, "Mercedes Benz" by Janis Joplin, and "Tik Tok" by Kesha
SM: Right now I'm listening to a lot of Tool, Disturbed, Aurdioslave, Damian Marley, and Static X. I like variety and I always switch it up.
SG: Drop the World, Anything Nicki Minaj, Anything Carrie Underwood, Anything.
21. One food I can't live without is?
LS: Ice cream
SM: I wouldn't be too stoked about life without salmon
SG: Chocolate and Red Bull
22. One fighter who needs to write a book is?
MT: Lyle Beerbohm
TR: Me and I am
LS: Jens Pulver. The life and times of a fallen and broken champion that was pissed on by the UFC
SM: Miesha Tate
23. If they ever make an all women's MMA Hall of Fame, the first inudctee will be?
MT: Probably Gina Carano, but I feel it should be Megumi Fuji.
RM: Tara LaRosa
TR: Gina Carano
LS: Debi Purcell. She helped bring female MMA mainstream as well as showed that beautiful women can be strong, technical fighters.
SM: Sarah Kaufman
24. Anything coming up in the near future you want to mention?
MT: Possible trip to Korea for some Korean Belt Wrestling! Then I'll be waiting for my title shot!
TR: Ooooh boyeee stay tuned!
LS: I am fighting in Las Vegas on October 9th for MMA Xplosion against Michelle Gutierrez
SM: Exciting things are coming soon
SG: Hopefully fighting October 30th, but I've had so many fights fall through lately I'm almost afraid to say for sure!
25. Any sponsors or anyone else you want to plug or promote?
MT: Thanks to my sponsors Cage Hero, 5 Star, Full Tilt Poker, Bad Reputation, Scramble, Body Architecture, Tussle, NBfighters.com, and Cage Candy!
RM: Fightchix, Sprawl, Nogi, Combat Corner, Tussle, Tokyo 5, mmarising.com, Seven Duece inc., my new trainer Sean Frew, and my manager Shu Hirata.
TR: You of course Jason... Slade from Tussle, Bon Cacho from Fight Soap, Tracy Tate from Cage Candy, Elisabeth Neusser from Fight Chix, Boston Brawler, Caithlyn Daley for repping female fighters, and my newest sponsor Rising Fighter
LS: I want to thank Tussle Fight Gear, Fight Soap, Carried Out Fight Gear, Primal Instinct Wear, and First String Athletics, and most of all my family at Team Rugburn and my husband/coach Randall!
SM: All of my close friends and fans
SG: Thank you to FightChix, Tussle, Bad Reputation, Defense Soap, AdapTXLabs, Vegas Chompers Mouthguards, CatFight Gear, Fight Banner, and Velvet Industries!