Fighting Injury and Disappointment

Roxanne ModafferiI feel absolutely horrible,” said Roxanne Modafferi, the Fatal Femmes Fighting lightweight champion. It’s not just the illness that’s been plaguing her for the past two weeks that fuels her words. The sentiment comes hard on the heels of her decision to pull out of her November 3 title fight against Brazilian standout Vanessa Porto. Prompted by injury and that nagging illness, the decision hit the titleholder hard. “Fatal Femmes Fighting asked me to defend the belt back in June and July, but my father got remarried. I had to say no so I could go to the wedding,” she said. “FFF is great, and I feel that I’m letting them down in addition to disappointing myself.”
It is unclear whether she will be able to retain the belt until she heals or whether FFF will ask her to relinquish the title. As to the nature of her injuries, Modafferi would not elaborate, not wanting it to become the target of future opponents. Injury is something that she is used to dealing with however, and she realizes that giving herself time to heal and working with her body is critical to a successful return to the cage. “The biggest obstacle was and continues to be my own body,” she said. “I get hurt a lot, usually temporary stupid things, and I don’t think I’m physically strong. I make up for it with good technique, endurance, and stamina. In light of my recent situation, I have new ideas for how to work with myself rather than against myself.”
Modafferi is now planning her February return against a yet to be determined opponent. “I’ll get in the ring with anybody,” she said. She’s also got some specific ideas on who she would like to square off with down the road; Modafferi is bothered by the blemishes on her record, and would like rematches with Laura D’Auguste, Tara Larosa, and Shannon Baszler. She’s also willing to take on “the face of women’s MMA.”
“I’ve been wanting to fight Gina Carano, but she’s out of my weight class,” Modafferi said. “My fighting weight is 60-61 kilos, or about 132-135 pounds. I like Gina. We’ve chatted in person and on Myspace, but frankly, why would I take a fight with someone cutting hard to get to 141 pounds? I think in the future we’ll meet, like I did [Marloes] Coenen in an open-weight tournament.
“I also would like to note that if Gina isn’t naturally 135, it’s not fair for everyone to give her crap about not being able to cut. But just don’t try to.”
In spite of her recent setback, Modafferi hasn’t lost her confidence or her motivation. Part of her self-assurance stems from the supportive environment she’s found while living in Japan. “In Japan, people are more educated about the sport, and after they express shock at the “librarian-looking teacher” being a pro fighter, they treat me respectfully, like the professional athlete that I am.” She has also learned to deal with the depression that strikes many athletes when they are forced to stop training because of injury or illness, and she uses the time to be social and do things that she wouldn’t be able to do if she were training for a fight.
Her advice for women considering an MMA career is a simple: “The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.” Yet for all the heartbreaks, injuries, and difficulties MMA brings, Modafferi still loves the sport with a passion. “The rewards are glorious, and the falls are very steep,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever lived so deeply, or connected so firmly to people. Every time I get hurt and am sobbing my heart out in the changing room, I know that I’d do it all again. It’s who I am and it helped make me who I am.”

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