Cornering adventures for JoJo who won her UFC fight! My trip to NY, The Fun Bus

I had a great week last week, and a stellar weekend! Training was great, as usual. Since John wasn’t around to give me my normal striking and wrestling private lessons, I decided to drop by Dunham’s Jiujitsu Academy to drill some gi technique from Rene Lopez. Then I went back to Syndicate for MMA class. Dunham’s is my only chance to do gi classes nowadays since Mike’s classes at Syndicate are at the same time as my kids classes. Anyway, everything he taught I managed to use over the course of the week, including guard retention from the leg drag by rolling on my shoulders, an open guard pass, and a few things from guard. Thanks, Rene! I also made friends with this lady Lilly, my drilling partner of the day! Yay new jiujitsu buddies!

I had a great strength training session with Lorenzo on Wednesday. I’ve really been liking what we’ve been doing. He says I’m getting stronger, so that’s good. It’s hard for a person to judge their own minute improvement, but I believe him.

I took a night flight, leaving Thursday night and arriving on Friday. It’s really convenient for me not to miss training by having to have a travel day, since flying to the East Coast uses up most of a whole day, but now I realize that I don’t recover from training AT ALL. I got a few hours sleep on the plane, but I landed on Friday feeling like I just got smashed at practice. My lower back was KILLING me so I could barely stand for periods of time, or bend over. Sarah Kaufman texted me that she’d be there cornering JoJo, too, and I should bring clothes to train in. I was like, “Dude, if you stack-pass me I’m gonna break in half.” It kind of sucked because I really wanted to train with her. Now I know.

Mary AKA Mama Wood AKA Coach John’s mom also went to New York to watch JoJo fight and also have a mini vacation. We ended up traveling together on the same flight. Since JoJo wanted to just chill out after weighing in, I ended up talking a walk with Mama Wood and we walked by the World Trade Center area.

statue that was in front of the Towers while they still stood

I had never seen what became of the spaces. It turns out, they were made into waterfall pools, where fountains poured water down into a hollowed out cavity in the ground.

Pool 2

It was very sad and profound, seeming to represent all the lives lost, just sinking deep into the ground like the building did.

Mary suggested going into the museum. I probably wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been there, but I agreed, and was glad I did. I knew a lot of the information, but things were really put into perspective. I learned a lot and saw a lot. It was a good reminder that bad things can happen on American soil. War and tragedy isn’t just for “over there” in other countries.

Back of a Fire Truck

I’m so fortunate to have grown up in a safe neighborhood where I could go outside and play in my yard and not have to worry about my life being in danger.

So JoJo weighed in successfully and made weight like a pro!

I was also cheering for my TUF 26 teammate, Rachael Ostovich!

While at official weighins, I spotted Katlyn Chookagian in the crowd. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Is that Katlyn?
Katlyn: Yeah! Hello! *shakes hands*
Me: How are you? *chat chat* Do you have a fight set yet?
Katlyn: No, not yet! 🙁
Me: Me, neither. Do you want to fight me?
Katlyn: Yeah, sure!
Me: Great! Let’s take a picture and try to drum up interest.
Katlyn: Okay.
Me: Hey Sarah. Can you choreograph this?
Sarah: Sure.

This is the photo.

Sarah’s facial expression made this picture for me. LOL It got a bunch of likes and retweets, but no call from Mick, my matchmaker yet. We’ll see. I really want a fight set… I’m trying to make his job easier. :/

So ….. the getting to the venue was a challenge for several reasons. One, it was about 35 minutes away with no traffic. However, we were going DURING rush hour because that’s when public weigh-ins were, so we had a police escort to clear the way for the caravan of two fighter buses. However, it was an unmarked car, and despite front and rear lights flashing, there was no siren so I felt like it didn’t signal for people to get out of the way. I wouldn’t have known if I were a driver, but then again, I wouldn’t have tried to cut in front of anyone. MAN, it was a CRAZY roller-coaster bus ride! We were blowing through red lights, whipping around the bends, running cars off the road, cutting them off! Geezus! I’ve never been so close to building walls before, and we got so close to cars, I couldn’t see the tops of them from my raised seat on the bus, and I thought, “omg we just RAN OVER that car like a peanut!” ;_; But we didn’t. Our bus driver was a maniac but a safe maniac. I think all New York drivers have to be that way or they will die.

I did a lot of deep breathing on that bus.

pic from the second bus…see how close we are to the walls?!

Then, on the way to the fight, or was it on the way home from weigh-ins? I forget. I was in the second of the two buses. My driver cut this one SUV off, who had to drive into the opposite land for oncoming traffic. He or she (I’m just gonna say ‘he’) got road rage, and at the next light when we were slowing down for it, he did a super illegal and dangerous zig zag just to CUT IN FRONT OF US, between our buses.

Our driver leaned on the horn at him, and he honked back. We almost rear ended him, and our driver cut him off at a turn, and I swear, that SUV could have died. But our driver was just like, “F you.” Then a minute later, BAM, he cut in front AGAIN. Holy mackerel. wth So finally we stopped in the middle of the road and the cop got out of his lead car, went over to the SUV who was sandwiched in between us and flashed his badge. I couldn’t hear anything but the cop was yelling. Then the SUV pulled over and let us pass.

Sean Shelby and Mark Dellagrotte were sitting in front of us, and Mark dubbed us “The Fun bus.” lol Everyone was laughing and joking and calling the guy an @$$hole. I was deep breathing and hoping nobody got hurt. lol ;_;

Fight day! JoJo’s mom flew in from Scotland and we all had breakfast together. We all just bided our time until we had to leave for the fight.

JoJo hit mitts to warm up, and also did some light clinching and grappling with me and Sarah. Then it was time!

John wrapping JoJo’s hands

She fought SO well. Lipski had a huge hype train behind her, being “The Violence Queen” and everything. Jojo got a lot of publicity, a lot of interviews, more than I ever got before a fight. JoJo performed really well. In the first round, despite being a ‘striker,’ JoJo actually took her down against the cage and dominated!

This is my kind of fight, baby! 🙂

She did ground and pound, and also hunted for a bunch of submissions! She almost submitted her a few times!

It’s not “JoJo the striker,” it’s JoJo 2.0 from Syndicate MMA under Coach John Wood! 😀 I love it! People were texting ME after the fight, saying how much her grappling has gotten better and it must help training with me. I’d like to think so! Training with her has certainly helped me in all aspects of my game. We have no ego in training. When we foil each other’s moves, we go to John and he tells us how to improve, so then we go back and succeed so the other person can go back and ask what to do after THAT.

OKAY SO my duty while cornering is to assist John with whatever, bring the bucket and stool when the round ends, and to say stuff to him and he decides whether to shout it or not. He shouted a few things I said, which was cool. Sarah had been handed the clothes JoJo stripped off, but then she handed them to me, which, in hindsight, might not have been great since I had the bucket. So I put the t shirt, jersey, her sandals, and my hat on the bucket so they wouldn’t get lost. Then during round 1, we had exactly 60 seconds to get in there, give her advice, and get out, right? We all stood up. I was reaching for the stool but then saw John, who was already half way up the stairs, already had one. He also had water. I looked down at the bucket, which had a bag of ice, two bottles of water, a towel, and her clothes. It was really dark and wires where everywhere. I was afraid the clothes would get scattered and lost under the cage, so I just grabbed the ice instead of the whole bucket. It was fine. I put the ice on her neck while John gave her water and talked.

Round 2, I did the same thing by just grabbing the ice, but then as I approached them I saw that she was bloody! John yelled, “Where’s the towel! Where’s the bucket?!?” I was like “OMG!” So I turned to get it, but then I had the ice, so I turned BACK, ran to give him the ice and ran BACK to get the towel, smashing into the camera guys and door holder guy. I bypassed the steps, leaping off the cage onto the floor, grabbed her bucket and dumping her clothes @_@ (whatever, at that point), stepped on Bruce Buffer’s foot who was sitting right behind me, ran back in, bumping into the door guy again. But then the cut man was in there, so I wasn’t allowed to be in there at that point cuz I have to leave if he comes in, so ppl were screaming at me to leave! I threw John the towel and then left, not knowing where I was supposed to go. Everyone was in my way. X_x. Somebody on Twitter tweeted, “What cornerman yelled at Roxy?!” and I replied, “To be fair, I forgot the bucket.” Actually, it’s not true. I didn’t forget it. There were reasons for my decisions, and I chose poorly. I should have stuck the clothes under the table or somewhere or given them to Sarah to hold, but I didn’t know since I’ve never cornered with three people before and didn’t know it’d be so dark.

So JoJo was awesome and got the unanimous decision win. Congratulations, homie! 🙂

Man, it was so great seeing her get interviewed after the fight and seeing her victorious. It reminded me of after my win against Barb – it was the happiest day of my life so far! I was so ecstatic! I can’t wait to get back in there and get back on the winning track. My last loss was so hard on me. They all are, though. I focused on being thrilled for my friend’s success.

Team picture! I got included! 😀 yay

I caught the bus back to the hotel earlier (by early, meaning 11:45 instead of after the main event, at 1:30 AM or something) so I could get a few hours of sleep before I had to be up at 3 to be at the airport at 4 to catch my 7 AM flight. I wanted to be there super early since it was supposed to storm and I was on American Airlines, not by choice, which has canceled flights on me TWICE in a row these last few visits to the East Coast. Thankfully, it was 40 degrees and rained instead of snowed! YAY! I got home safely without incident, along with all the UFC Vegas staff. haha

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