Roxanne Modafferi is back again with a new batch of questions for the latest Dear Roxy, the advice column where the ‘Happy Warrior’ goes toe-to-toe-with readers’ inquiries about fighting, training, and life in general.
Last time around, we talked about MMA managers and how to pick one. We also talked favorite victories and worst losses. And how the game has evolved for women in MMA, as well as injury rehab and avoidance.
In today’s column we’re looking at trash talk and how (or if) the UFC encourages fighters to do it. We’ve also questions about bushido spirit and how the UFC could go about enhancing it. And teammates and training partners—how should a fighter handle associates who do and say things you disagree with, but who you regularly work with.
How much does the UFC, Dana, or whoever influence the fighter to trash talk? Do they specifically recommend them to do it in a meeting, or lightheartedly suggest they do it? Or force them to or they’ll get cut or something? Have you been told to do so? — From huntexlol
I don’t know how to talk trash, but I wouldn’t have minded getting some coaching on it! I feel like presenting yourself in memorable ways helps get the fans excited about your fight. I’ve actually done a comedy video with stand-up comedian Jamie Kilstein making fun of myself.
I think there are acceptable ways, and unacceptable ways to trash talk. Some people are inappropriate with what they say, and go above and beyond what’s necessary to sell the fight. But to answer your question, no, the UFC never encouraged me. I can’t speak for other people, though, but I think fighters just take it upon themselves and the UFC goes with it. I think most fighters could use some coaching on that, and also how to be the most valuable and vocal for the company. Some people just don’t have the personality to talk trash. There are other ways!
Regarding meetings, I never had any meeting outside of the normal pre-fight rules meeting. They have a few here and there surrounding International Fight Week because lots of fighters are gathered in one place. This past summer, my manager let me know there was going to be a meeting at the Performance Institute to talk about how to best use our social media to promote ourselves. I couldn’t make the meeting time, and I had just retired anyway, so I didn’t go. Normally, no. They never talk to us unless it’s to offer us a fight.
In a perfect world, what would you change about the UFC to align it perfectly with a martial arts spirit? — Section80
I don’t think the UFC can really change anything. I can sense MMA moving away from martial arts and towards sports that have lost the intrinsic values of a martial artist. I think it’s natural, though. Martial artists are supposed to learn fighting for self defense, and to protect their lords of old, or loved ones. “Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war,” as the old saying goes. Now, there’s money in fighting if you get to the top, so “athletes” train for that purpose. I think there’s less spirituality in general. Everybody says on TV, “I want to kick the *expletive* out of (opponent’s name) and kill him.” They want to ‘kill him’ even though it’s a sport with a ref? Okay, sir or ma’am. There’s the difference. It’s not wrong, it’s just different.
As the sport grows there seems to be more and more fighters saying or doing something to get eyes on them. Would this change your relationship with a teammate if they do or say something that you disagree with? — FluentPenguin
I guess that would depend on what they did. If it’s something I felt strongly against, I might be disappointed in them. However, that’s their choice to do what they feel they have to for their career. For example, Khalil Rountree destroyed the leg of Modestas Bukauskas with a kick that can only injure. I hated seeing that. It’s like a submission but the guy doesn’t have a chance to tap. That’s Khalil’s choice—MMA can be a business, and it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Some female fighters use their sexuality, some trash talk, and more. I might might try and distance myself emotionally from their fight persona, but still keep a co-worker-type relationship. I’ve had conflicting feelings about teammates for sure.
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.