Dear Roxy – What advice would you give a young fighter about managers?

Roxanne Modafferi has returned for another edition of Dear Roxy, the advice column where the ‘Happy Warrior’ goes toe-to-toe-with questions about fighting, training, and…

By: Roxanne Modafferi | 10 months ago
Dear Roxy – What advice would you give a young fighter about managers?
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Roxanne Modafferi has returned 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.

In our last edition, Roxanne got into her thoughts on the ever controversial topic of fighter pay. She also gave her top secret tips on cooking for MMA made easy. And some thoughts about USADA’s drug testing program, the upsides, and the problems its caused as well. She even took some time to go into her own supplement routine from her time as a fighter.

This time around, we’re talking about MMA management, what is it good for? We’re also looking at the best and worst of winning and losing over a long career. And how the game has changed for women in mixed martial arts. Plus a few tips for avoiding and rehabbing from injury too.

Dear Roxy,

Which was your most satisfying win? Which was your most devastating loss? Was the Maycee Barber win in any way special to you? — Forvardrevind

Dear Forvardrevind,

A great day!
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

My most satisfying win was against Barb Honchak. She had submitted me seven years prior in a match I thought I should have won, but she surprised me with her skill and strength. I finally beat her in the UFC, the world’s biggest stage, and by TKO.

My most devastating loss was against Laura D’August in 2005. She was the one who inspired me to go from competing in jiujitsu tournaments to MMA. We fought each other in grappling. I thought, “If she can do MMA, I can do MMA!” Of course I wanted to face her, and when I lost, I was completely devastated.

Ring of Combat 2005

The Barber fight turned out to be special afterwards for multiple reasons. My head coach John Wood was so proud of me and praised my techniques. That was important to me. Numerous fans messaged me thanking me for winning them money on their bets since I was a massive underdog who won. I also got recognized by people who value the martial arts spirit because I didn’t attack her injured leg on purpose.

Dear Roxy,

As an MMA fan, I’m curious about the value managers provide to fighters. I understand they negotiate contracts and bout agreements, and I assume they help find sponsorships. What advice would you give a young fighter who’s deciding whether to have a manager or not? — From Negadelphia

Dear Negadelphia,

The value of managers varies according to the human doing the managing. There are things a manager is supposed to do, and then things he actually does. He’s supposed to find frequent fights, but no fighters get as many matches as they want, ever, because there’s a limited supply of fight opportunities. Also, is he working hard, and does he have a lot of contacts?

His job is to negotiate things: the value his fighter brings, the expense to bring them in, a good opponent, fight purse, are medicals paid for or not, etc. Managers should get fighters lots of money, but there’s only so much he can request or demand of the promotion before the promotion becomes uninterested in the fighter. The manager should find sponsorships, but those are extremely limited and nobody wants to give fighters cash anymore—it’s all about free products and advertising on social media, or print on fight clothes. Managers also take different percentages of the purse as payment—from between 5% to 25%. I’ve had overall positive experiences with managers.

Regarding finding one, I’d recommend using someone a friend or teammate uses and trusts. Otherwise, you have no idea what they’re like or if they have ulterior motives in any way.

Dear Roxy,

What changes have you seen in women’s MMA that are positive for the fighters, and what ass backwards changes that make your jobs harder? Also what differences are there between leagues overseas and stateside for women’s MMA? — From Zewvlf

Dear Zewvlf,

Smack Girl 2003

Well, when I started fighting in Smack girl in Japan in 2003, we had to wear puffy 6oz training gloves to fight pro MMA, no knees or elbows, and there was a 30-second ground rule. No matter if we were about to lock up a submission, we had to stand back up after 30 seconds. Now, women can do all the techniques men can. The only thing I’m unhappy about is how the most recent version of the Unified Rules de-emphasizes grappling. If someone gets a takedown, it’s not worth anything unless they strike them to cause damage, or get close with a submission. We used to get credit for takedowns and control time.

Dear Roxy,

What advice would you give to young fighters about injury prevention, rehab, and avoiding burn out? What are the best ways for a fighter to take care of themselves? – From Throwaway

Dear Throwaway,

For injury prevention and rehab, I would advise to do yoga, stretching, or any kind of recovery activity of your choice every day briefly, or several times a week more extensively. Honestly, I don’t get burned out. I always want to train. However, I make sure I get a certain number of hours of sleep, and the only activity I do on Sundays is taking a walk and doing yoga. Some people need a week of not training, or time in nature to recharge. I think everybody is different. When I feel overwhelmed and like it’s too much, a single day off will do it for me. I say young fighters have to train as much as they physically can. Unfortunately, muscles need rest to recover and grow, and we never give ourselves time for that. Part of me wishes I had rested more, but I felt like I couldn’t afford it.

Doing yoga outside in Vegas

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

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About the author
Roxanne Modafferi
Roxanne Modafferi

Roxanne Modafferi is a former UFC fighter with 19 years of MMA experience. She’s fought for titles in the UFC, Strikeforce, and Invicta. A jiujitsu blackbelt, she teaches jiujitsu at the gym, and English in the classroom. Roxanne has self-published three books in addition to contributing articles for this site. In her free time, she watches anime and plays video games (Twisted Metal, Skyrim, etc).

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