Roxanne Modafferi is back in the hot seat for another edition of Dear Roxy, the advice column where the ‘Happy Warrior’ goes toe-to-toe-with questions about fighting, training, and life in general.
Last week we looked at injury stoppages and their impact on a fighter’s legacy. We also talked about tricks to stay motivated in training. And wrapped up with a look at the different types and quality of opponents from the various organizations I competed in over my career.
This time around, I’m addressing the struggle of being a pro athlete who needs glasses. I also give my thoughts on the future of women’s MMA and where the sport still has room to develop going forward. And I’m providing a peek behind the scenes of what fight week is like, beyond the UFC Embedded videos.
“As someone who has to wear glasses everyday all day to function, I struggle in sports I play and even in muay thai when I did it. Did fighting without glasses ever bother you?” — vheran
I get it, I quit softball in middle school because I couldn’t see the ball. (Plus the coach was a jerk). I’m nearsighted but I can make out shapes and body parts. I could probably drive safely, but just wouldn’t be able to read most signage. During martial arts class, I have to get close to the teacher demonstrating technique, or put on my glasses to see what they’re doing with their hands. That is pretty annoying. However, in a fight, by the time I’m close enough to hit somebody, I can see them well enough, so my vision doesn’t bother me.
“You got my wife into MMA and that has my passion into a shared passion so I’m forever grateful. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of WMMA as well as your impact on it!” — HiiroYuyTeam
I think in the future all female fighters will have high athletic ability. People who want to fight for fun without undergoing high-level professional training won’t be able to keep up with UFC-level fighters. I’m glad that I started fighting in 2003, because if I were to try to come up nowadays, I wouldn’t be athletically gifted enough to hang in there. As you can see, after 20 years of martial arts training, I’ve never had the ability to knock out an opponent. I think we’re going to see a lot of amazing fights that combine skill with strength and stamina, pushing farther and farther beyond what we see now. You are seeing it now; everyone’s a specimen. In Dern vs Yan, both women were shredded with six packs!
“Can you write about some of the things that happen during fight week that we don’t see on embedded? Memorable things for you or more general things us fans don’t realize you have to do while cutting weight.” — Jesse Newman
You want to know unique things? Well, a fighter should know their body, and I know that I go number 2 in the morning after breakfast. However, on weigh-in morning, I don’t eat breakfast. I still want to go number 2 in order to be lighter and have to sweat less weight out. Therefore, in order to stimulate my intestines to *insert melody* let it go, let it go, I chew bubble gum and take one gulp of “Naked” green vegetable juice to swallow a vitamin and half a caffeine pill. The pill bounces around in my empty stomach, shouting “Digest system! Activate!” The caffeine helps me wake up and is permitted by USADA. It’s also a mild diuretic. This combo works great for me. Sorry if TMI!
Aside from that, I am very strict with myself with salt during fight week starting on Monday. Foods with high sodium content cause a body to hold onto water, and if I decrease and eventually eliminate sodium, I lose water weight really quickly during my final cut on Friday morning. I try to cook my own food, and when I’m confined to the fight hotel, the UFC provides me with food. I request, “Grilled chicken, veggies, and rice with no sauce.” It’s often bland but the chefs have found ways to add homemade veggie sauces that don’t have additives in it to make it delicious.
I’m thrilled when I get asked for interviews, and lonely if I don’t. I think it was before I fought Viviane Araujo I didn’t get any media requests. Maybe it wasn’t a big fight in the public’s eye. Before Maycee’s fight I got to be part of the media interview scrum because she was a hot and upcoming star. Also before my retirement fight I got a lot of interview requests, which was cool. That made me feel loved because it wasn’t just that I was fighting someone special.
During fight week walking around the hotel and event locations, I often run into other fighters and their teams. I always know at least one other person on the card. When I fought Taila Santos at the UFC Apex, Lauren Murphy fought Valentina Shevchenko. We hung out in one of our rooms a bit and chatted. Usually we’re too busy and on our own schedule to hang out much, but passing by and saying hi is cool. Also, I fan-girled really hard when I met Robbie Lawler in the hotel lobby. When I cornered JoJo one time, I met Matt Serra. Those are my favorite fighters! How lucky am I!?
If you’d like to submit your own questions for ‘Dear Roxy’ feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “Dear Roxy”, or reach out on twitter @RoxyFighter with the hashtag #DearRoxy. Or simply leave your questions in a comment below on Bloody Elbow. Look forward to hearing from you all soon.