Once again, Roxanne Modafferi is here to answer the most pressing questions from Bloody Elbow readers and MMA fans. Have a burning need to know about MMA, training, the UFC, or life in general? Modafferi has the answers in her ‘Dear Roxy’ column.
In our last column, we tackled questions about MMA Math, and whether it’s actually a useful concept. We also looked at when to know enough is enough, and it’s time to retire. And we answered questions about USADA testing and fighters leaving the pool to recover from injuries, as well as pre-fight nerves—just how bad are they?
In this week’s column, we’ve got questions about hard sparring and how much of it fighters should do, when they should back off, and how they balance the need with the cost. We’re also looking at the competitive spirit, and how much fighters miss the game once they’ve left it. And how strong is the pull to come back and take just one more fight?
Dear Roxy: How far out from fight night do you stop sparring?
How many weeks pre-fight do you drop off in intensity during fight camp spars? What do you think of some fighters (Max Halloway) that are rumored to just never hard spar? How do you handle trying balance the intensity of the spar with aches and pains that might be on the brink of turning into a genuine injury?—Derps with ducks
Dear Derps with Ducks,
I sparred my last hard round on the Thursday the week before my fight, because that was sparring day at Syndicate. That’s ten days before the fight, if it were to happen on Saturday. Then Friday would be my last hard strength and conditioning session where I’d go 100% to exhaustion and muscle-fatigue. That’s nine days before. I’d take Saturday and Sunday off where I’d just jog and do yoga.
Then the Monday of fight week I’d do light cardio and drilling technique with my coach and the team. As you may have guessed, I wanted my body to recover somewhat without losing my hard-earned cardio. I wanted to stay sharp. I also wanted to have enough time to heal from something like a muscle pull if it happened in my last sparring session.
Regarding balance, that’s the hardest thing to know for a fighter. I wanted to push myself to the brink of injury without actually injuring myself. Something always hurt and I was always tired. Something was always slightly injured. Maybe I sprained my neck and couldn’t turn it to the left. My left shoulder constantly had tendonitis, and it always hurt to throw jabs. I just bit the bullet and did it anyway.
Dear Roxy: What do you miss most about competing?
It’s been a year or so since your retirement. What do you miss the most about competing and what do you enjoy the most about retirement?—One Championships Hill
Dear One Champ,
I miss testing my skills against opponents in competition. I want to know if my techniques work against a fully resisting opponent my size and similar skill. That’s the only thing I miss. I love not having to choose violence every day. Also, I felt so much pressure fighting later in my career. I was always afraid that if I lost a fight, I could get cut from the promotion. I wouldn’t get paid half my potential fight purse. There is no mercy in the fight business.
Since training was the only thing I was doing, I felt like every fight was the culmination of hours and minutes of my life for the past months and years. It felt wasted if I didn’t win. I felt like I was staking my self-esteem on my performance and wins, so I got terribly depressed and worthless when I lost. It was incredible pressure that I got used to. Now I can feel the lack of it, and I don’t miss it. Fans are still nice to me and supportive on social media and in person, so that’s really nice. It seems you guys haven’t forgotten me yet!
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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.
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