Dear Roxy: Should the UFC Octagon be replaced with plexiglass?

Roxanne Modafferi is back to answer your most burning questions about MMA, the UFC, and life in general, 'Happy Warrior' style with her Dear Roxy column.

By: Roxanne Modafferi | 1 month ago
Dear Roxy: Should the UFC Octagon be replaced with plexiglass?
Roxanne Modafferi

MMA is a sport filled with burning questions. What’s the right way to defend an armbar? What’s the best way to cut weight? How many Demetrious Johnsons would it take to beat Francis Ngannou? Fortunately, former UFC title contender Roxanne Modafferi has the answers, in her Bloody Elbow exclusive column, ‘Dear Roxy’.

In our last edition, Roxy tackled a few more of readers’ burning quandaries, such as whether the MMA scene gives young women room to grow without being abused, how Roxy’s brain has fared after a long MMA career, and Roxy reveals some of her favorite fighters and also what she thinks about kickboxing heavy MMA.

This time around we’ve got questions on alternatives to the cage, the UFC pressuring athletes to fight “anyone, anywhere, anytime”, and how important she sees fan support now that she’s a retired fighter.

Let’s get to it.

Dear Roxy – Plexiglass UFC Octagon

How big of a problem is fence grabbing, and should the UFC consider using something other than the chain link fence to surround the octagon? Maybe like hockey boards? -dko84

Dear dko84,

I think that fence grabbing is a problem, but I like the rules they have in place. Personally, I think we should be able to put our toes in it. I remember the ref yelling at me for me trying to cage walk, but there wasn’t a way to NOT have my toes go in there when I flexed my foot.

I think one warming should be given, and then penalty afterwards. I think refs are too lenient with multiple warnings, to be honest. It should be one “oops” moment and then penalty for standing grabs. “Big” John McCarthy had a good point in an interview, though: “The first thing we’re going to do is give you a warning, tell you to let go of the fence.

If you let go of the fence, it’s like it didn’t happen. If you don’t, then we’re actually going to come over and hit your hand off the fence. If that doesn’t work, you will get a foul at that point right there.

If your hand came off of the fence, then it’s like it didn’t happen as far as we’re just going to give you the warning, but we’re going to go to you if there is a break and tell you, “hey, don’t grab onto the fence again.

If you do, from this point, I’m going to give you a foul…..” (but) If we took a point every time someone did something that is part of the rules as far as the way they’re laid out in words, we’d be having a lot of disqualified fighters.

People wouldn’t be happy about the fact that they didn’t get to see the end of the fight because a referee went and gave someone three fouls and kicked the guy out of the fight.”

That’s a good point. But I think fighters should try harder. I never grabbed the fence standing and I’ve had 50 fights. I don’t think toe grabbing is a big deal, but grabbing it with a hand to prevent a takedown can change the entire fight. I like how sometimes the ref will give a penalty and then I think start them from the ground position, but I never see it much. I think refs should be less lenient.

Dear Roxy – Taking Fights

How do you swing on the UFC unofficial policy that to be a company fighter and make big money, it has to be any fight, any one, anywhere? And how this leads to fighters fighting injured to receive a paycheck, or bringing in a bad/losing performance because they can’t tell Big Daddy they need more time to heal, or they simply hide injuries completely and basically go in knowing they will lose, ala Dillashaw in his last barn burner? How do we solve that problem? – From PG8GT

Dear PG8GT,

It has to do with power and opportunity, in my opinion. The average fighter has no power because we aren’t hired by the company – we are independent contractors and easily replaceable. If I don’t want to fight, the matchmaker will hang up the phone with me and call the next person, not even caring.

If a fighter wants an opportunity, they have to say yes or they’ll be passed over. I’ve always just accepted it because it’s always been that way with any organization, not just the UFC. I don’t think we can solve that problem with the current legal set up. There is nothing giving the fighters any protection or power. Organizations can cut fighters whenever they want, or put them on the back burner if they feel like it, and it’s written into the contracts.  

Dear Roxy – Fan Favorite

MMA is a pretty cutthroat sport with a large amount of rabid fans that can and will turn on the athletes on the drop of a dime. In terms of accomplishments in your career (pioneer, title challenger, title holder, etc) where does maintaining fan favorite status with the majority of fans being at your back to support you rank amongst them? And can you describe the difference in how those accomplishments feel now that you’ve retired? – From armchairwarrior69gourmet

Dear Armchairwarrior,

I started out my MMA career wanting to be the strongest and best in the world. Maybe everybody does. I didn’t quite achieve that, so sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize that I actually accomplished quite a lot. If anybody is good at reminding me, it’s the fans.

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From day one, they’ve always had my back. I think 99.9% of my fan interactions have been encouraging. It’s rare that someone said something mean to me online, and I have a dozen White Knights all over the attacker for me. People tended to not turn on me when I lost. The UG (Underground Forum) guys have always been nice to me. Finally winning over the ruthlessly Sherdog crowd still leaves me feeling pretty happy if not incredulous. I really accomplished a great deal!

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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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