Roxanne Modafferi

The Happy Warrior

what “champion” means

Posted in fight, friends on June 21st, 2017 by roxyfighter

Work ethic.
My friend Serena and I have many things in common: a love of anime, nachos, ice cream, food in general, MMA, fighting, movies, we’re apartment mates, etc., but one of the most unusual things we have in common is work ethic.

We both train every day. Until we drop. There’s a burning force that drives us to the gym, whether we are energetic, exhausted, injured, or sick (if we’re sick, we don’t wanna spread it so that’s the only time we won’t go.) If we don’t train what we think of as ‘enough,’ some little voice inside says something along the lines of, “You lazy weakling, you suck! You could be doing more!”

Coach John likes to say that “The sh*t you’d rather not be doing, is probably what you need to be doing the most of!” Whether that be striking for the grapplers, or grappling for the strikers, or strength training, etc.

Serena and I do it. And we’ve been improving our skills, thanks to our amazing and supportive coaches, and wonderful training partners.

As you all know, I’ve been on a winning streak. And Serena? She’s been improving SO much, and it killed me that she lost her previous fight because despite showing that improvement, she didn’t get the W. In addition to normal training challenges, she has to deal with being autistic. I can’t possibly understand how it feels because she puts it as “the brain being wired differently.” She’s sensitive to senses, like light, noise, stimulation, etc. Maybe similarly to how a non-depressed person can’t understand a clinically depressed person because we don’t have their chemical imbalance. It’s not a matter of “just cheer up.” Everybody has their own hurdles they have to jump over, and the mountain they have to climb to reach the top has it’s own rocky or jungle terrain to fight through.

This weekend at Tuff-N-Uff Serena showed me such heart as I have never seen before. She cut weight – that was the first battle, and showed me the heart of a champion and got through hell to get to heaven on the other side. Yes, it was hell. Hot tub sauna hell. x_x And I went in there with her. Because that’s what friends do.

Haha Serena this pic I found on google is appropriate, especially since I’m a vampire…

Anyway she went out and fought a tough girl and dominated. Not only did she won, but she won well, and she showcased lots of the technique she’s been fine-tuning and polishing. Her striking, her sense of distance, her counters, her take-down defense, cage control, it was all so beautiful. When they announced her unanimous decision victory, I cried a little.


She has a champion’s attitude. People can win or lose fights, but you don’t just become a champion for nothing. She really earned this. She works SO hard. She tries to be a good role model (except when she’s being a bad influence on me and trying to turn me to the Dark Side).

It was nice to see her mother and little huge brother this weekend. They flew in from Philadelphia for her fight and were a big support.

I’m so so SO proud of you, Serena! SO HAPPY for you!! You helped me win my fights, and I’m thrilled to help you win yours. Let’s keep working towards our next goals!

update: BJJ stuff, prodigy kids, fantastic training, translation, Leslie, Transformers

Posted in every day, fight on June 16th, 2017 by roxyfighter

Training has been amazing.

I feel like I’m getting burnt out again, actually. But if there’s some amazing training scheduled, I want to do it. If I can do physical training to get stronger, I want to do it. If there are kids who want private lessons to get better, I want to do it.

I also want to lay down but that’s not a priority….

I’ve been having all kinds of breakthroughs in my jiujitsu game lately, thanks to Capitão. I’m preventing people from passing more. I’ve been improving my De La Riva guard a bit, and I improved my armbars. THAT’S what I’ve been trying to focus on lately. In my last three fights, I actually finished one but the other two people defended them. Whyyyyyyyyy?!

So I went over scenarios with Capitão and figured out what I could do better and I’ve been armbarring people more in practice. Yeah!!! Rick also gave me some great tips. I’ve been using his stuff, as well.

So Capitão’s friend Diego has a brother who is friends with this black belt (are you following?) who brought a team of youths to America to compete in some tournament, and they decided to stay for a few months to train. I LOVE THEM. Two boys and three girls.

They are supposedly prodigies, and I was like “alright whatever” and then the 12 year old ended up choking me out. And I didn’t even care. Actually no, I’m a little bothered, but that’s because I haven’t figured out how he did it and I’m jealous and I wanna do it, too. So he got my back and that was fine. He got some grip and it wasn’t tight. I was defending. He made an adjustment. Another adjustment. Another adjustment. Suddenly I realized that I was in danger but he was so physically strong. At that point I knew I was screwed so I tried to notice how he was doing it so I could try and remember….. and then he shifted my body to the side and got the power of leverage, finishing the gi cross choke and I tapped before I went unconscious. THAT SHIFT. I need to be taught that better. I’m missing a detail. Gah! I must knowwww. He seeks me out to roll in practice, which is flattering.

So Capitão told me that I need to put more pressure down and move less. That’s Prodigy child’s game, too, and when we go, I’m doing well until I get tired and then he passes and everything goes downhill. haha
So the other day I decided to try and squash his game. I tried to move slower and keep pressure and not get swept, and I did WAY better. Yay learning. And he didn’t choke me again. But I was tempted to give him my back to see his work again.

Why is he so strong? THIS IS WHY HE IS SO STRONG. HOLY O@U#I$*#@$. I just saw this on instagram!!

There should be no ego at the gym, but we are only human. If you love something and love learning something, it becomes easier if you remind yourself that we are all students.

Coach John taught me two really sweet wall techniques that I’ve been using successfully! YAY Thanks, John. Best coach ever.

Leslie Smith visited Syndicate this week! I had sparred her kickboxing two years ago and she annihilated me. I noticed big improvements this time so I was happy. I would love for her to come around more, like on MMA day! We’re not in the same weight class so I don’t mind training together! 🙂 And I really like her. Yay Leslie!

We gave out stripes in the big kids jiujitsu class. Here’s a picture of Coach Rick and our students Bailee and Chris. I love them!

I also gave Griffin another stripe! He earned it. The little imp. <3

My friend Serena is fighting this weekend, so I’ve been helping her train, stay ready, and cut weight. Her mom is here, who I lovely assigned the nickname “Mamarena,” and her little, huge, brother Brandon. 🙂

I’m so excited for her fight. She’s going to win and fight well!! She has done nothing but improved and gotten stronger.

I have a translation gig translating fighter’s post fight interviews! It’s fun, good practice for me, and I get to use my Japanese skills that I learned in college! Yay using your college degree for something. Thanks, Jonathan, for helping me fulfill my dream of doing translation.

I took some pictures of myself with my four belts! Because why not. I have them so I should pose with them. I think there’s some kind of law. I was even thinking I have enough to wear only them, like hang them over my shoulder so one covers each boob, and then the one around my waist is like a miniskirt. I thought about this for about two seconds, shared the idea with Serena and Mamarena, had a mighty guffaw with them, and then went to take proper ones. ^_^

In the iota of free time I have I’ve been watching the Transformers Prime on Netflix!

I’m really really impressed with it! I mostly watch Japanese anime, not American cartoons, but I loved American Beast Wars when I was a teenager. The p;lot is decent, the music is good, the voice acting is good. I admire Optimus for always trying to do the right thing, and being a bad-a$$.

Do you know the greatest riches in the world?

Posted in every day on June 3rd, 2017 by roxyfighter

Each human being is born in the middle of a path. They travel down that path in their lives. The path splits off each time there is a decision to be made. Sometimes the “correct” path is clear (don’t steal that toy), sometimes it’s not clear. (study to become a teacher or a musician?). As I got older, I realized that there is no correct or incorrect path…..only how we feel about the outcome the path leads us to. In relationships, in job choices, choosing where to move or what house to buy, etc.

When I realized this, it took some of the pressure off some choices for me, knowing that whatever I chose, I would make it work. Because I was alive. For an actual warrior, defeat is death. Life is great. Life is amazing.

I recently found out that two of my family members on both sides of my family have serious cancer. Actually, I found out the same day.

Actually, there is a lot of cancer on both sides of my family, with almost every female on both sides of my family getting some form. So much in fact that I’m pretty convinced I’m gonna get it eventually. That sounds uncharacteristically pessimistic of me, but it brings a determined resolution: I have to live as much and as hard as I can with the time I have, because so many people don’t have time. Heck, I could be totally healthy and get hit by a car and die. We all die and don’t know when. I don’t want to know. So therefore, every day I wake up, every time I eat something delicious, every time I go out with friends, I am glad. Every time somebody cuts me of fin traffic, I’m not mad. I think, “Whoops that was dangerous. I’m glad I’m alive. I hope that guy doesn’t have an accident down the line because he’s kind of reckless.”

Every time I start my car, I’m grateful I have a car. I feel the weight of responsibility that I now control this huge piece of metal machinery. In life, safety and life are the most important things. Everything else, EVERYTHING, is secondary or trivial. Clothes, possessions, what wouldn’t you trade for health?

I don’t mind leaving the nest, but I often wish I could be closer to my family and see them more than once or twice a year.

When I imagined winning the lottery or getting rich, in the past I thought of traveling to Brazil, or Japan a FEW times a year, and maybe going to Texas De Brazil once a month. Now all I can think about is helping my family and the people I love. That’s why I want to be rich. I remember watching TUF Brazil and like half the fighters were like, “I want big UFC money so I can take care of my Mama and buy her a house.” I thought, “Aww that’s cute and kinda sappy.” Now I totally get it. I would want to keep my old Toyota, shop at Walmart, eat at Taco Bell, and help my family.

I keep thinking about my beloved family members. I’m glad I just saw them earlier this year. I wish I could do more to support them. But I have to stay focused and keep chasing my dreams. We are all on our own individual paths. Other people’s paths sometimes join with our own sometimes, or run parallel.

We can’t always save other people. They don’t always do what we advise. Other people make their own choices and have to live with the results of THEIR decisions. They chose the path to walk down, and we can’t pull them backwards, or have them skip to another path. Have you ever watched in frustration someone you cared about making a decision you thought was “wrong?”

I’m kind of feeling down at the moment. When my mind starts thinking about all that, I try and make my emotions swing upward. I’m worried about my family, but I have to be strong, be positive, be grateful, be a good role-model to my kids (kids BJJ class), and do things that will positively effect this world that we live in. I’m grateful for the body and the life I have and I will never never take it for granted.

back to training! Serena’s fight, TUF tryouts

Posted in fight on May 31st, 2017 by roxyfighter

After my Fusion Fight League fight, I told myself I’d take like a month off from kickboxing and do mostly grappling. Then my Invicta fight got set. After that, I told myself, okay, a month off…but now who knows when my next fight is? I went back to full MMA training Monday. I’m not one to take “time off” anyway. MMA is life to me. I don’t want to be doing anything else. Vacation is not doing kickboxing and cardio. lol
I want to make sure I helped my friend Serena train for her fight in Tuff-N-Uff on June 17th. I wasn’t really able to last week because I was trying to recover from my own fight while taking care of the crazy aftermath of my fight and then TUF tryouts.

Serena is one of my best friends and trains super hard every day.

(I’ve started teasing her for always flexing in pictures, but she HAS gained a lot of muscle over the recent months and that is something to be proud of.)
She’s like me in that she has to be held back or she’ll burn up, rather than have to be encouraged to go to the gym. I’m so proud of her and her outstanding work ethic. It’s ironically stupid that she lost her last fight because she’s been making massive improvements in her technique and game. I want her to have confidence in what she’s built up, and know that she can still win. Having been on a 5-fight losing streak, I know how hard it is. After I lost, and therefore lost confidence in myself, I made a change in my training, trained hard, believed in it, and went into the fight with renewed confidence believing that I changed myself into a different fighter in the past and I could achieve good results. And the second those negative thoughts start coming into your head, you have to replace them with positive ones. Remind yourself what you’ve been doing, remind yourself of your growth, remind yourself of your gameplan and how you can win. Because you can’t just banish thoughts without having anything take their place. “Replacement of thoughts” is the key, I think. Coach John used that phrasing and I like it.

Anyway, she’s looking sharp and strong and is the best version of Serena southpaw I’ve ever sparred with!

Here are some new photos that came out from Fusion Fight League April 1st, taken by Ryan Hall, matchmaker of that event and photograher.

He really got great close up pictures of our eyes and facial expressions! I don’t think I’ve seen my expression like this before!

I always rant about my awesome coaches but seriously, they teach me something and I literally go out and do it.
Of course, I have to be able to go out and execute the techniques, but I can’t say enough how grateful I am.

My friend Candy lent us (mostly Serena) the Attack on Titan Playstation 4 game! Which Serena kept inviting me to play, but it was bad timing, because I don’t consider video games relaxing. Anime is relaxing. Video games take mental effort and I never wanna play in the evening after training. Serena is away dogsitting for a week… I took the liberty of starting a game…. sorry Serena? ^^;; I probably won’t finish it because it’s freaking me out that Titans are chasing me, but I just wanted to play a little. Thanks, Candy!!!!

And in the Attack on Titan anime Eren did freaking DE LA RIVA SWEEP on the armored titan! HAHA JIUJITSU FOR THE WIN!!! sort of…

Oh yeah, the Ultimate Fighter tryouts. I did the tryouts! “Oh did you make it?” everybody and their brother are asking me.

Come on, guys.

The first rule of the Ultimate Fighter is you do not TALK about the Ultimate Fighter. LOL Whether people made it or didn’t, nothing is decided, and even if it was, I couldn’t tell you. So quit asking.

It was cool to meet a lot of people I knew there! There are a bunch of women I hope make it!

And I didn’t know a lot of ladies. Upon researching some, I found women from other weight divisions trying out. I totally understand and can’t fault them, but…… the UFC finally opened 125, so I hope 125-ers get chosen for the show, know what I mean? Barb Honchak was there! ooooooh I hope we both get chosen so we can have a rematch ! She choked me out some number of years ago and I want to prove I’m better. 🙂

Whoever was in charge of matchups chose me and Lauren Murphy to grapple. Then we made friends. 😀 Our match kind of got a lot of press. News sites were posting videos, and I didn’t expect that. At the time, I was excited…I was hoping they’d put me against someone good! I wore my Vegeta rash guard. 😀

Here’s a cool video of the tryouts with a bunch of interview and training clips of me!

I’m so glad I wasn’t injured so that I could do tryouts. I’ve been getting a lot of press, I think, riding the wave of my Invicta victory and then going straight to tryouts. I had my fight braids still in.

Capitao was yelling at me all week, “GO HOME! YOU NEED TO REST!” but I kept trying to do his jiujitsu class. lol Did I listen to him? Kind of. Not really. Finally Monday, I did MMA class.

So I’ve been wanting to interview Jennifer Maia for the website I occasionally write for, mmasucka.com, but I couldn’t speak Portuguese, so I emailed Invicta asking them to set it up. They told me to wait, and then never got back to me. That was October. Dude, she’s the champion and I haven’t seen ANY interviews out about why she started MMA or anything about her! That’s too bad! She seems like a good person. Well guess what. I can speak Portuguese now (kind of) so I just Instagram messaged her and she agreed to do my interview! My friend Thais will help me translate this! (She doesn’t know this yet, but she will :D) I’m so excited!!!

yeah, I interview my opponents.

okay gotta go train now.
Here’s a nice interview I did.
http://www.mmaweekly.com/roxanne-modafferi-has-an-edge-in-trying-to-become-inaugural-ufc-flyweight-champ

My Invicta 23 experience!

Posted in fight on May 23rd, 2017 by roxyfighter

I flew to Kansas City Wednesday night, and Thursday was a little crazy. One of my coaches had to catch a later flight, and the other coach’s flight got delayed like 7 hours because of snow in Denver. My friend Jessica suddenly couldn’t come because of travel arragement issues, and I rearranged our sleeping arragements last minute. But it worked out. John arrived in time to do the photo shoot….thanks, photo team, for waiting a little longer for us!

I got to chat with Mike and Kristy Crilly, fans who became sponsors, and then friends!

It was epic.
Then I cut weight a bit with mitts and jump rope in a sauna suit.
Friday I woke up early and finished my water cut in the bathtub, weighed in, and went out for burritos with my team, new friends, and Tonya Evinger! 🙂

I ordered “Big as yo face burrito!” haha it was!

Then weigh-ins were fun. For me. Sarah apparently hated them. 😡 As she got in my face on the stage I remember thinking, “Her hair is so cool. WHOA here she comes!….okay we’re doing a close-range one. Where should my eyes focus now?”

Friday was fight day. I woke up and immediately felt my guts clench. I get a nervous stomach and diahhrea before fights, usually starting after breakfast, not before. :/ It’s an interesting phenomenon because my mind and emotions are perfectly calm, but my body KNOWS what’s going on. I couldn’t eat as big a breakfast as I had intended!

After my coaches woke up and ate, we decided to go to a small aquarium downtown so I could distract myself. Last time, we went to a small Zoo in Montana and it made my nervous guts go away all day. 🙂 So that was fun and perfect!

I think I managed a small nap around 2 PM. Then Fight time! We went to the venue, I took my Imodium AD, (thank GOODNESS for drugs), waited around, John wrapped my hands, I warmed up, and did my thing.

I was definitely in trouble in the first round. The first punch rocked me. I remember getting hit, things went dark for a second, and then I circled out and tried to be active while brain was recovering. Later, people told me I fell down and popped back up. I must have had a Rock Lee moment there. (He got back to his feet while still unconscious)

Her punches were SO hard. Coach John was reminding me that she would come out the strongest in the first round, and I should do feints and pulls and make her miss and then come in. That’s what I did, and ended up clipping her on a forward charge and knocked her down. In my haste to hit her, I went right into her guard, which isn’t really good. But from there, I proceeded to play my ground game. She has really great submission defense. She hit me another time that made me feel a little wobbly, but I think I did a good job of not letting it show.
(image from Sherdog)
(sherdog)

In the second round? When I tried for the armbar, man, I thought I could get it! When she started picking me up, I thought “OH FUDGE, I’m in the air! nooooooooo not another slam” and tucked my head.

Then I managed to hook her leg and hold on for dear life. FOR DEAR LIFE. lol (I’ve lost two big fights by KO from being slammed on my head)

I got a few knock downs!

(invicta photographer)

In the third round, I managed to avoid her strikes and get a single-leg and did some ground and pound.

She was blocking and trying to buck me off, and I was a little surprised when the ref stopped the fight, but then she didn’t get up….. :/ and then the cutman came over and said, “Let me wipe the blood off you.” I was like, “Blood?” and my arm was covered with blood. I tried not to look at it. Ironically, I think I drew the most blood in the card and I’m the fighter who least wants to. It was a really weird feeling. My adrenaline was crazy, I was a little worried for her at the same time being thrilled…. I didn’t really see that I had cut her because her hands were in the way. I saw a little blood, but I didn’t realize it was so much because I had gotten off her by then. I was so excited I had won, but I knelt down out of respect until she got up. I’m kind of irritated the staff wouldn’t let my coaches in the cage immediately. :/

This was a huge victory, not just winning the fight, but winning it against Sarah since she’s so good. I also managed to knock someone down, something I haven’t done much of in the past. Coach John said my strikes were stronger, and he was right. I’m so happy I could do the techniques he taught me. Also, my jiujitsu is better. Capitao has been making a big effort to teach me things, in class, and also pulling me asside after class. He always has time for my questions and enthusiastically supports me, emotionally, as well.

I won my previous fight by armbar, but I felt that my ground and pound wasn ‘t that strong, so the very next week I asked John to give me a ground and pound private session. He taught me so many little details and I used them ALL in this fight! Like, how to punch from sitting on the stomach vs grapevined and putting pressure, or how to make your opponent turn their face to the side underneath you and aim punches, how to elbow from a high position knees under the armpits, or from pinching my knees together while they’re on their side, or from a position sitting on their hips. Etcetera! (please ignore the fact this is a run-on-sentence)

My dad said on the phone yesterday that learning from your wins is just as important as learning from your losses, and it’s a sign of a successful person. He chuckled that like three different websites called me “vicious.”

I went and read the forums, like mixedmartialarts.com, reddit, and sherdog, and not a single person had any critisism about my striking or technique. NOT A SINGLE ONE. Even the sherdog guys, who are usually the meanest, were impressed! YAY I IMPRESSED SHERDOG. hahaha

My coaches were so happy with me, and I’m ecstatic that I could make them proud and show the world that I used their coaching to win and be successful.

I also couldn’t have done it without my great training partners at Team Syndicate. I never want to train anywhere else. Also, my sponsors help me pay my bills! Thank you for your love, support, products, and financial aid!

And I have the best fans who would support me if I won or lost. I love you! And my friends Katie and Candy, also Luz who traveled a distance to watch me fight, and Eric H also! I have more pictures and more things to say but I’m in a hurry because I have to leave for the Ultimate Fighter tryouts now. lol thank goodness I’m not injured. Wish me luck..

Great fight, Sarah. I hope you heal up fast.