Thursday, October 19, 2017

The hardcore MMA fanbase loves drama, and professional MMA fighters try to feed that need, as it puts asses in seats and money in the pocket. Sometimes the enmity is even genuine. Chael Sonnen promising to roll his opponent’s children in flour and serve them up in an Irish stew is in good fun, but for Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate, the hate was real.

Roxanne Modafferi is a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter 18: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate and The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion. During a recent interview with Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting, Modafferi said it’s a far more pleasant environment when coaches are not at each other’s throats.

Imagine you are in a new place for six weeks. It has no Internet, no television, no radio, nothing to read. Everyone is fighting everyone. Everything you do outside the bathroom, there is a camera in your face. And when you go to work, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate spend the day glaring and saying mean things. That was Roxy’s first TUF.

“It was so nice to not have the coaches fight each other, or bickering at each other,” said Modafferi. “Honestly, it was way less stressful for us. I was actually kinda worried that maybe it wouldn’t be as popular on TV because of that, because I know people like drama in that way. They were very competitive, Justin and [Eddie], but still they weren’t as heated as the former coaches, my former coaches, so that was really nice.”

Being on TUF appears to be a dream come true – world class coaches and facilities, with the opportunity to become famous. But if you talk to a TUF vet, they will explain that it sucks. TUF 26 tryouts were open to any female fighter on the UFC roster who could make 125, but only one did so, women’s bantamweight Lauren Murphy.

“I’m actually not surprised because it’s really hard,” said Modafferi, laughing. “Having done this twice, if you’re already signed to the UFC, great. Then you get a number of fights, then you can fight for the belt, as opposed to taking a chance. I mean, of course, you do want a title shot, and this is kinda like a — not a speed course, but you get a faster opportunity.

“(But) if I were already signed, I might not have done it again. But I really wanted the opportunity to fight for the UFC again, so there was no question in my mind. I had to do it.”

Modafferi was picked last on TUF 18, but saw her career reborn under the tutelage of John Wood at Syndicate MMA and was the #1 seed at TUF 26.

“I tried not to put pressure on myself,” she said. “I tried not to think so much about the big picture, I just tried to think fight by fight, and I respect anybody who gets in the cage. I believe everybody has a chance to win at any time. Everyone has skills, everyone is strong, so I looked at the fight with [Dobson] just (the same as) a fight for the championship of Invicta or UFC title or whatever. Just do my best, everything I have, see what techniques I can use in the fight, and may the best person on that night win, you know?”