Dear Roxy – ‘What would you attribute your longevity to?’

A new year means a whole new batch of questions for Roxanne Modafferi and her Dear Roxy column, where the ‘Happy Warrior’ goes toe-to-toe-with…

By: Roxanne Modafferi | 9 months ago
Dear Roxy – ‘What would you attribute your longevity to?’
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

A new year means a whole new batch of questions for Roxanne Modafferi and her Dear Roxy column, where the ‘Happy Warrior’ goes toe-to-toe-with readers’ inquiries about fighting, training, and life in general.

Last time around we got questions about weight class designations and whether the UFC should consider adding more of them. We also looked at fighter nicknames, how they come about, and why you can’t choose your own. And finally, we took a look at Dana White’s Contender Series and whether or not it’s been good for MMA.

This time around, we’re taking a look at why all MMA fighters seem like they’re reading from the same script when it comes to pre-fight interviews. We’re also looking at the growth of women’s MMA, including the battle to find sponsors. And finally, longevity, how to make it happen and stay in the game for years.

Dear Roxy,

Does the ufc provide any script for fighters, ‘cuz usually you always hear the same thing from fighters, like “this is the best camp I’ve ever had,” or “he’s never fought someone like me.“ Its always identical. — Huntexlol

Dear Huntexlol,

That’s pretty funny you point that out. I agree, it seems like people say the same things. I noticed, too! I think it’s because we fighters do the same things to prepare for fights. We spar, wrestle, do strength and conditioning, etc, so the fans hear about the same kinds of training. We don’t go skydiving to prepare. We want to make everyone believe we are strong and ready, regardless of whether we are or not (some people even bluff if they are injured).

There are only so many words we can use to describe it, and lots of people aren’t original or creative. They hear others say these things and copy it. I’ve done it, actually.

My coach John Wood says, “So we’ll sit down, watch some film, pick out her patterns, and make a gameplan.” I said in an interview, “Yeah, I sat down with my coach, watched film, and made a great gameplan.” My usual chosen words are, “watch videos .” I never say “film.” It just came out. I remember making a mental note about that one day. “Why did I say, ‘film?’ Haha.” I think a lot of fighters say what they think people want to hear, and what sounds good.

Hey, Roxy.

Since you are one of the OG WMMA fighters I just want to ask what it was all like at the start of your MMA journey? Was it hard to find a camp, sponsors, or opponents? Would also like to hear what you think could be done to better developed and promote WMMA and MMA in general. To me, it feels like most people take up MMA later in life compared to other sports where they start at an early age so do you think anything could be done to get people on board sooner? — Podfather

Dear Podfather,

Yes, it was indeed hard to find anything MMA related in 2003 in the mainstream. MMA was pretty underground so fighters, competitions, and other things were few and far between. Actually, sponsors paid more money to me to wear their gear back when I fought in Strikeforce due to the law of supply and demand.

Roxanne fights Jennifer Howe in IFC 2005 wearing attire from her favorite grappling organization.
Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images

There were fewer opportunities and fighters, so the price was higher. Nowadays, there are so many fighters in various organizations, sponsors only want to give free product and no money. In regards to opponents, I almost never fought in my home city because women had to travel to face someone their skill and weight-class. When I lived in Japan, it was so hard to find a fight because the American promoter would have to pay for my international plane ticket. Actually, I may have been lucky I did MMA back then, due to the fact that there WEREN’T many female fighters, promoters were more inclined to bring me in, because who else was there?

You mentioned people starting to fight later in age and getting people started sooner. To be honest, I don’t believe that’s correct. I think nowadays people ARE getting started sooner. That’s why we have young ones like Maycee Barber, Raul Rosas Jr, and others aiming to be the youngest champions. Their parents probably watched the UFC in their youth. I think fighters are continuing to fight later thanks to advances in science, athletic development, and body care. I used to think I’d fight until 32 years old and then my body would be too destroyed to continue. I made it to 39.

Dear Roxy,

You seemed to have quite a bit of success against high level opponents during the back half of your career, especially compared to most other fighters. What would you attribute your success/longevity to? – From Mommydollars

Oh hey, it’s that book I wrote!

Dear Mommydollars,

My super power is “perseverance.” I didn’t always have success against high level opponents, only sometimes. If I lost a fight, I would keep working super hard. I’d make some kind of change in my training to help me get better so I could win my next fight. I changed gyms within Japan, striking coaches, physical trainers, my schedule, massage therapists, MMA head coaches, moved my home closer to a new gym, and even moved to a different country! There are so many stories surrounding these things, I could write a book! Oh yeah, I did. Memoirs of a Happy Warrior II, available on Amazon.

I’ve done a lot of things with a single-minded determination to reach my goal of winning fights and hopefully making it into the UFC someday. I never want to do the same thing if I feel it’ll yield the same negative result. Me working to change my situations enabled me to reach where I am now.

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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