Roxanne Modafferi

The Happy Warrior

Tuff-N-Uff “Pack the Mack”

Posted in fight, friends on June 28th, 2016 by roxyfighter

Last weekend was Tuff-N-Uff’s “Pack the Mack, the largest and best amateur MMA promotion and show in the world. It’s truly an honor to be able to attend (even though this time I didn’t go out into the arena once because I was in the back), and so cool my friends and teammates get to fight there. Last year, or was it two years ago? Jamie won her belt there in front of like 18,000 people. That many come because it’s free. LOL I’m not sure how many come to a regular show, but quite a lot! This one is even more ridiculous. Thank you sponsors for enabling Tuff-N-Uff to do this.

Three of my teammates fought- Natan, Enzo, and Serena. I’m so glad Natan finally got to fight. He visits from Israel as long as his visa will let him stay. He’s a karate black belt, and the past like three times he got a fight set, people backed out or it fell through. This time he went out there, threw some awesome kicks and a standing foot sweep, defended a take-down, and guillotined the sh*t out of the guy for the tap in the first round. go Natan! Amateur debut.
natan winning pic

Enzo went out there and battled! Such a great fight. He had such good technique but lost the decision. Sad for him, but it’s a fight he should be proud of.

Serena unfortunately got caught with a straight early on and the ref stopped the fight. My heart hurts so much for my friend. She didn’t get to show off her skill that night. But she did everything she was supposed to do. For months, well all the time, she showed up at the gym every day, twice a day, unless she was dying and I had to tell her to stop.
serena beating up the sand bag
Worked MMA, striking, grappling even though it’s not her favorite thing but she forced herself, private mitt sessions, cardio, diet, weight cutting. She worked so hard. She suffered through the hard times. She improved a lot. She got stronger. Nothing that happened in that fight can take that away. Nothing that happened can be thought of as “a step backwards.” She took a step forwards. Many steps forward.

That’s why, even when I don’t have a fight set, I run myself ragged in practice. Sometimes I cry in the bathroom out of pain or frustration. Fight set or not. That’s because I know it will add up and make me stronger, so when the time comes, I’ll be better for it. That kind of energy and effort doesn’t just evaporate into thin air and become nothing.

We fighters know horrible things can happen in fights but we risk it anyway because the winning can illuminate our lives like a supernova. We know we can get knocked out, or maimed, or permanently damaged so we can’t fight or even function normally on a daily basis, or even die. But we do it anyway because we love MMA. Haha crazy, right?
john wrapping serena tuffnuff
There’s nothing else I want more than to get up, eat, and go to practice every day, and then fight. I want to learn and show in the cage that I can do it. I want to be the best. I’m so fortunate to have a wonderful team and friends and coaches who understand that and who’s hearts align with mine.

I’m so proud of Serena and all my teammates who fought. I’m honored to have fans, friends, sponsors, and family who support me. I’m happy barely anyone trash talks us. When I lost fights a while ago, people didn’t say stuff like, “Oh Roxy, you suck! Get out of the cage!” Everyone around me, online, and the majority on forums! were supportive in some way.

yeah. So Friday was weigh-ins, Saturday was Tuff-N-Uff, and I spent Sunday trying to recover emotionally since I feel so connected to her. I’m still bummed but I’m so proud of everything she’s done, and can’t wait to train with her again. We have stuff to work on. Both of us.

It was nice to see some of my friends who traveled to support Serena.
tuffnuff weigh in dinner

I found out I’m not fighting in July. I was super bummed out for a few days because I thought I was and I’d been preparing hard-core for it, but now I’m back mentally. I’m still enjoying every day and learning so when I get in the cage again whenever, I’ll one step closer to being the best in the world. I still feel like I lost time and I have no time to waste!

contemplating my fighting career…….

Posted in fight on June 15th, 2016 by roxyfighter

I started martial arts when I was about 13 because I saw heroes on TV, like the Power Rangers and Dragon Ball Z fighters, and thought they were so cool and bad-@$$. They were strong and protected people. I wanted to be strong and protect people.

So I did Tae Kwon Do and LOVED it. Ended up I switching to Kempo Karate and loved it more. The combinations we did were real life self defense things, like what if someone attacked you from behind? I also had my first taste of kickboxing sparring.

I started lifting weights in my living room when nobody was looking. I was shy and embarrassed and had no idea what I was doing at 14 yrs old with no instruction, but I liked to listen to my Mortal Kombat movie sound track CD and lift my 5 pound dumbbells hoping I’d get stronger.

Then we moved to Massachusetts and I tried a TKD school in Massachusetts, but I got bored and fed up with striking arts. I decided that hitting people was morally wrong and I needed to be peaceful and non-violent. Everyone should love everyone and talk out their problems. 🙂 I joined the Dalton Judo club. I trained with Sensei Harry and his daughter Carry Chandler a lot. I also commuted (my mom commuted us lol) to 8th degree black belt and silver medalist in the Olympics Jason Morris’ club in New York once a week. This became serious business.

I thought to myself, I wonder when and if I’ll ever fight bad guys.

I loved Judo so much and trained there for three years, only taking a break for soccer season. I achieved a brown belt.
Then I graduated high school and my senior ranked friend John said, “Hey, come to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class. It’s this new thing.” I was like, “Ppffft, don’t need it.” But in reality, I had injured my back in a Judo tournament and falling and twisting hurt so much. I couldn’t do Judo well anymore. So after weeks of badgering me, I went with him to a Rich’s Royce Gracie association (his basement) in Adams and got hooked.
2001 Royce Association BJJ club. Adams.MA
I knew by now that I wouldn’t be fighting bad guys. If someone pulled a gun on me, I’d give them my wallet. If they pulled a knife, I’d run away. If he tried to grab me, I’d kick him in the balls and run away screaming. Only if he got me down on the ground would I break his arm or poke his eyes out or something.

Heaven forbid. My BJJ friends loved the UFC. Again John convinced me to come over and watch with the BJJ team, and I did and thought, “Whoa that’s so violent!” I think my first was UFC 34 in 2001 where I saw Caol Uno fight BJ Penn. Matt Hughes slammed Carlos Newton. Josh Barnett fought. Dang my memory sucks but as I’m reviewing wiki to remind myself of this card, I kind of remember seeing these fights.

I wasn’t sold on MMA.

I did TONS of BJJ grappling tournaments, mainly NAGA. I moved to Amherst, Mass, and tried to find a BJJ club. It was nice, but Rob Feiner, the coach, said Kirik Jenness’ New England Submission Fighting academy was great, too, so I went there and guess what, everybody wanted to do MMA. So I did no-gi and MMA for the first time. Fast forward a few years and I was working for an MMA event “Mass Destruction” and I saw this fighter, Laura DeAugust, fight MMA. I thought to myself, “I grappled against her in the tournaments, I can do that MMA, too! If she can do it, I can do it.” So I decided to do it.

2003 I did my study abroad and told my Japanese sensei, “I wanna do MMA some day.” He said “uh ok.” A month later he was like, “So you wanna fight Shinohara Hikaru in Smack Girl in November?”

What?! Already?! Sure….
No amateur back then. I won $100 for my first fight, $200 for my second fight and I forget the third. Probably $300.
Smack GirlvsShinohara Hikaru 11.2004
Fast forward, I won three fights in a year, and then had a moment of clarity.

It was while I was walking home from training the summer of 2004. I was 3-0 pro. I had a talk with myself. I was a junior, studying for a major in Japanese Language and Literature. What was I going to do with my life? It sure as hell wasn’t going to be fight full time, and I knew that. A few hundred dollars per fight? I needed a good job- like a high paying job- translator would be nice. I would have to finish graduating school, and get a nice job and train on the side.

I decided that my goal was to be the first woman in the UFC! I would work hard to make my dream come true. Then I told my parents I was doing MMA. LOL Read my autobiography for details.

My career took off and I was pretty successful.

I met my future employer in an elevator in Japan when I went there to fight, and ended up getting hired to teach English. In that way, I got the job I wanted that had a schedule that would allow me to train and fight.

Eight years and many fights I was in Japan. Then I started going downhill around 2010.

Sarah Kaufman vs Roxanne Modafferi

MMA had really taken off in America and was declining in Japan. I kept losing. One. Two. Three. Four in a row. I tried dropping weight classes, getting various striking coaches…but I could just NOT LEARN STRIKING well. Sean did teach me the shuffle step and thinking in angles and triangles. We had a falling out but he did help me with my stepping ….until then I could only go forwards and backwards. I trained so much and so hard, and my grappling got better, but my kickboxing just stayed sucky. It was crazy. I went through periods of giving up trying, to trying hard, to giving up and despairing.

But I kept losing. Had a lot of amazing experiences and met great people….
rosi wins cw

…and my body hurt. It seemed like I could barely recover. I was falling asleep in front of my stunts at work, my back was so bad I couldn’t train hard two days in a row. I could barely raise my left arm half the time. Every day. BUT I KNEW that I had some potential, that I COULD do it if only…..something. I didn’t know what that was. If only. I sensed it. So I refused to give up.

Then the Ultimate Fighter season 18 happened!

roxy icon
I was on a losing streak but I got into the house! And I was TV star! And experienced what it was like to train in America. WOW! SO DIFFERENT. And in ENGLISH. I could understand! so many times when I asked my Japanese teachers something, they’d be like “You can try it like this or this but figure it out.” grrrr noooooo I don’t want to figure it out, I want you to tell meeeeeeeeee.

So TUF 18 happened and I lost and got out and decided, “My body doesn’t have much time left, so if I’m gonna do this, I better do it now.” So I quit my beloved job and left my adopted country on two months’s notice (that I wouldn’t even leave after the power plant blew up and blasted radiation everywhere) and moved to Vegas. Tried Drysdale’s gym. Loved it. Almost joined. Decided to try Syndicate MMA out of courtesy for my friend Amanda H. (Lucas) who had been inviting me for years. Took John Wood’s MMA class and holy sh*t. The type of training, style, and everything was so on point, it suited me, and I could understand what he was teaching. After a few days of trial, I decided to join Syndicate.
roxy has heather's back
And then there was Jake Steckel.
jake roxy revgear
Super chiropractor. He kept me from breaking and kept me training and fighting. It was like a miracle. I started taking striking private lessons with John twice a week every week.

mitts about to strike
john and roxy ready for battle2

It’s kind of ironic that the two most important turning points in my career came from men named John.

When I lived in Japan, I tried not to go on vacation or I didn’t buy expensive things. I got all my furniture from thrift shops and what people left outside on the curb. I shopped at goodwill. I almost never went out and splurged and ate at super expensive restaurants.
I had this feeling I would be living off my savings someday. Recently I met the super masseuse Teri and I haven’t felt this healthy since I was 25, and here I am at 33.

I’m signed to Invicta, a really great organization. I’ve had a lot of fights with them. They treat me so well. I have nice sponsors who decorate my fight clothes and support my training with their funds. and my weigh-ins will go down in history.
kitana and sub zero weigh ins

Now what……………………………….

People don’t start fighting to make money. Training is too hard for that. We do it because we love it. I’m at the point now where I wanna be able to make some more money that I can put away for when I can’t fight. Right now, if I didn’t have my savings, I’d be in trouble. But…. I also want to just fight. FIGHT MORE. I want to show the results of my training. I want to show that I’m the best. That’s what my heart desires. I want to fight more than twice a year, but it’s hard. Every fighter wants to fight a lot but we have to wait for the promotion to set it up, and there’s stuff involved, so I can’t really blame promotions. It’s just the way the MMA game works.

I’m so motivated. The first thing I think about when I wake up. “Am I going to be able to land XZY technique in training today?” Every day is exciting. Every day is fun. Every day I have a chance to perfect moves and then I inevitably want to try them in a fight. Except my future is not financially secure. I can ignore that for now.

And somewhere along the way I realized that you don’t have to wear a costume to be a hero. I’ve always wanted to be a Power Ranger, and maybe this is my way to be one. Although I do have a Red Ranger costume. 🙂
tony batman vd roxy pic The Red Ranger fought Batman once.

I have many costumes, actually.

I’m really happy with my life. I’ve accomplished so much! I think people won’t forget me when I stop fighting. But I’m still training so hard and improving so much every month. I want to get stronger and stronger. With the help of Teri and John and Team Syndicate, I feel like I’m picking up steam rather than slowing down. And I love being a mentor to up and coming fighters and my kids class.
roxy teaching kids -04 6.7.16

I love spreading positivity to anyone who will listen to me.

I hope I get to fight soon! I’ve learned some cool new stuff and I wanna do it on my opponent before I forget because my memory sucks. Ask anyone who knows me…..LOL

level up in training, kids BJJ, thoughts on Ariel Helwani’s predicament, RIP Ali & Kimbo

Posted in fight, friends, fun, training on June 8th, 2016 by roxyfighter

These past few week’s training content has been stupendous. In my private sessions with Coach John, I’m working on a few themes and REALLY being successful with them in live sparring. THAT’S SO COOL and exciting! I REALLY had fun in yesterday’s kickboxing….like legitimate fun. hat’s notable because I don’t like kickboxing and I do it because I have to. The only enjoyment I get is just being successful at something. 😀 But I liked yesterday.

I can’t tell you more because I don’t want my next opponents to read this, but I might drop a clue somewhere in this entry.

…I don’t think I was supposed to laugh so much at this music video. XD XD


I know I leveled up! I’m in fight talks at the moment but nothing is set in stone, and I REALLY WANT IT TO BE so I know how much ice cream and tostadas I can eat can try my moves out on my opponent soon! I know I have leveled up! My teammates have leveled up, too, especially Hannah and Serena, who I train with every day.

My kids class is growing! Ever since I became the lead instructor for the class ages 4-7, it’s been hard to grow the class, as I’ve said before. But yesterday I had 15 students! That’s my record!! 😀 And I have more, except some didn’t come today, so I’m so excited it looks like a nice, solid class! 😀 Yesterday we had them work on escaping from mount and most of them got it!
roxy teaching kids -02 6.7.16

roxy teaching kids-01 6.7.16

I like to have them bow in Judo (Japanese) style, on their hands and knees.
bowing in judo style
roxy teaching kids -04 6.7.16

On a sad note, Muhammad Ali passed away this week. Honestly, I’ve never really watched him fight, but of course I know about him as much as the average person. I read his quotes all the time. I see his pictures and video clips. He has had an influence in our society and because of that….he is immortal. That’s so great. People who make a difference and are remembered are immortal. Even family members who aren’t public figures have a some immortality if we remember them when they pass on. I believe people should try to lead lives and be happy for themselves, but it’s nice when they can leave a bit of something behind that allows them to be remembered. Rest in Peace, Muhammad Ali, and know that your efforts and memories will live on forever.

Kimbo Slice also passed away. I don’t think he had quite as big an influence on society, but then again, how can you really quantify such things? Every life is part of a building block of history in some way. All life is special and sacred. It’s a shame he passed on so young and left a big family behind. :/ From what I hear, he was a kind, amazing guy. I only know him as a fighter. RIP Kimbo.

Another issue that arose last weekend and this week was MMA reporter Ariel Helwani getting booted and banned from the UFC because he broke certain news. I keep hearing this and that, like getting let go from FOX and think, poor guy, but well, he knows he’s not supposed to break news before the UFC and he’s doing it anyway, so it’s his choice and consequences.

THEN I watched his MMA hour video and learned a lot, about his history and about journalism in general. (I’ll post the video later) There’s no rule that says the reporter must run stuff by a source before making it public. There’s no rule that says he has to wait for the UFC to announce first before he reports it, and he actually referred to it in a negative way called “sitting on the news.” For me, when Invicta says, “Don’t tell anyone you’re fighting,” I can’t, or else there might be penalties such as them canceling the fight, or I dunno. But I’m under contract and I work for them. Ariel doesn’t. I hadn’t realized that. It’s kind of like, The UFC wants to be first but the info leaked? Too bad for them. If they want it top secret, they should make all fighters and everyone involved sign million dollar penalty waivers like they did for Ultimate Fighter, because Ariel found out by asking SOMEONE who felt free to talk, right? Two or more people. He said that he always confirms from various sources and different sides of the table. That’s really good.

It’s kind of like…well, they are both kind of right. I see both sides. This kind of tension just can’t be helped. shouganai, as they say in Japanese.

On the MMA hour, he shed a few tears when talking about how the UFC said his career was over, and he feels he did nothing wrong. I was really moved…. I was upset for the rest of the day and so sad for him. ;_; I read on a forum some guys making fun of him for “being a grown man crying because he couldn’t report.” Screw you guys! Everybody has a dream and a passion. If my leg got bitten off by a shark and I couldn’t do MMA anymore, I’d get hundreds of emails offering me consolation. Don’t belittle anyone’s passion, jerkfaces! ~_~; I was mad at them but didn’t feel like getting flamed by inconsiderate faceless trolls, so I held my tongue.

Let me tell you about how I met Ariel. I was living in Japan and occasionally flew back to the USA to fight. I forget where I first met him in person because it feels like I’ve known him forever. I’m GUESSING at a Strikeforce, because he typically covers large events. Maybe he would remember. I remember when, at Strikeforce in 2009 Fedor vs Rogers I fought Marloes Coenen. It was a last minute offer and I agreed to fight her at 145 lbs. I lost by arm bar in 63 seconds and was obviously devastated. ;_; Back stage he interviewed me and asked me something like, “So how does it feel to finally get on a big show and lose in front of so many people on national TV?” or something like that. I remember I could not BELIEVE he asked me such a horrible, sad question, and my answer was like, “Uh…bad?” Who was this guy? I thought.

Later on, because I’m Roxy and I don’t want to hold a grudge against anybody, I thought that he wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings, and maybe even he himself knew he could have worded it differently. It’s not easy to come up with stuff on the fly. We are all humans. He’s trying to do his job, right? So I started going out of my way to pay attention to his interviews and talk to him in later interviews and have had only positive experiences after that. LOL He’s a super nice guy and I really want him to be successful and happy. It broke my heart to hear of his troubles, and it appears that he’s un-banned now. It must not pay much to report on MMA, but he’s following his passion and that’s something to be admired, kind of like us fighters.
ariel helwani pic at mma awards

If ever I run into him just walking around (like at the MMA awards where I took this picture), I scream “Hi!” and run over. 🙂

edit: This is also a really interesting perspective. Seeing different perspectives is good: Joe Rogan gives his opinion, slightly different than both mine and Ariel’s.

Lastly, update on my mom. She’s doing well in NY. Got a nice apartment, is looking for a job, helping take care of our sick family members. I miss her but we text a lot, and it’s nice not being told how to cook my food anymore…..

Here’s the MMA hour where he tells the whole story. I usually don’t listen to long podcasts and videos, but I listened to every second of this one.