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Dear Roxy - ‘Just how big is the advantage of extra weight?’

Roxanne Modafferi tackles your questions, Happy Warrior style, in her ‘Dear Roxy’ column for Bloody Elbow.

Roxanne Modafferi at a 2022 UFC fan expo event.
Roxanne Modafferi at a 2022 UFC fan expo event.
Photo by Mike Kirschbaum/Zuffa LLC

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 talked about being sick & injured going into a fight, gearing camps for specific opponents, and how it feels the day after a big win or hard loss. We also got on to the topic of psychological warfare and how valuable it is to try and present a strong image mid-fight.

This time around, we’re taking aim that the idea of an ‘MMA Masters Division’ (ed. note: For real this time), how much a weight advantage actually factors into a bout, and the financial burden of high level MMA training. We’ll even spend a little time talking USADA and PED use in MMA.


Dear Roxy,

“How would you feel about a Masters Division for older fighters to face off against each other?” — 9inety9ine

Dear 9inety9ine,

Glorious idea, I love it. I would much rather see older, seasoned fighters fighting each other. The younger ones have a youthful advantage, despite the older ones having experience. I think youthful strength and invincibility is greater than experience. ‘Masters Divisions’ might be more evenly matched.


Dear Roxy,

“Just how big is the advantage of extra weight? Is it really worth the stress on your body right before a fight? How would someone fair staying very close to fight weight all camp then cutting just a couple of lbs on the day vs how everyone does it now, losing weight dramatically in the days before weigh in.” — namesbond13

MMA: SEP 24 UFC 266 Press Conference
Weight cut complete!
Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages

Dear Namesbond13,

I think it depends on the person. Things are also evolving. Previously—late 1990s and early 2000s—nobody cut weight. Then—mid 2000s to 2020-ish—everybody cut a lot of weight hard. The goal was to get as tiny as possible and then blow up. Now, I think it’s evening out.

Many fighters are moving up a weight classes to improve their performance because how you feel matters on game day just as much as how much you weigh. Fighters are realizing that they perform and feel better if they don’t cut so much. I think that as fighters’ skill-levels are getting higher and higher, weight matters less than feeling good.


Dear Roxy,

I’d like to know more about camp costs. Like how much a fighter is usually out money wise to prepare for a fight. Also what does it cost to train at mma places like ATT, Jackson wink, etc.” — The_kite_string_pops

Dear Kite string,

Let’s see if I can do basic calculations. I don’t want to state precisely what everyone charged because they probably charged differently for different people. Let’s say each week I’d pay for private sessions: $50 for striking/mitt work, $80 strength and conditioning, $60 for grappling, $30 for a massage. That’s $220 a week in private lessons. Multiply that times five weeks, and it’s $1,100 just in privates.

I lived near the gym so I personally didn’t have a huge gas bill. I didn’t pay gym membership dues because I instructed kids jiujitsu, so that was part of my deal as an instructor. I would pay my coach 10% of my purse and then my manager a similar percentage. Syndicate used to cost $100 a month for fighters, but I’m not sure nowadays. When I was part of the UFC, I paid all that. When I didn’t get UFC money, I only did a massage once in a while, S & C once a week, and no grappling privates. During my last fight camp, I flew in training partners, so their plane ticket and car rental factored into my total fight camp cost.


Dear Roxy,

“If you took steroids (assuming you didn’t) how much better of a fighter do you could have become?, Or conversely if every opponent you fought was clean do you think you would have had more success in mma?” — From californication760

Photo of a red towel with an Octagon design and a USADA logo.
USADA sent me a towel for being a good girl.
Roxanne Modafferi

Dear Californication760,

Hah! When USADA started drug testing fighters, I used to joke with my friends, “Why are they testing me so frequently? I probably look like the one most in need of steroids.” This is because I don’t consider myself very physically strong and muscular. If I took steroids, for sure I would want to get stronger. I don’t have a natural athletic ability, and it’s hard for me to gain muscles. I feel like I lose them really easily if I don’t work out, too.

I like to joke that I wish I could have taken steroids, but in reality, aren’t they bad for you with negative side effects? I don’t want to grow a beard, get a weak heart, or something else. Plus it’s cheating. It sure would have been nice to not get muscled around in my fights, though. I have no idea who was clean or not when I fought them. I’m betting I probably fought some people on steroids, and maybe I would have done better if those bouts were more equal in that regard, but who knows?


If you’d like to submit your own questions for ‘Dear Roxy’ feel free to email me at basilisk875@yahoo.com, 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.