Tisha Tolliver Rodrigues Interview If you know me, you know my loves are MMA and bodybuilding/fitness. Tisha Tolliver Rodrigues is athletic and fit enough to have competed on stage in fitness contests. She is more than beautiful enough to have been a fitness model, and she is tough enough that she now competes in MMA. Tisha is an amazing woman, and a very inspiring woman. The kind who deserves success, has achieved success, and will achieve more success. If you don’t know her or about her, read this, and you will walk away a fan of this amazing woman.
Q: Tisha, I want to thank you for doing this. I greatly appreciate it.
A: Thank you…. it’s my pleasure.
Q: Let’s start out by just telling a little about yourself, family, where you are from, things like that.
A: Whew….. where to start….. I’m a mom of three, two boys and one girl first, a wife and a fighter. I’m always busy and complaining about being busy, but in actuality, I can’t sit still anyway. My children are my hope and my heart…..sometimes, I think I need them more than they need me.
Q: Let’s start out with the fitness part of your life. What initially led you to the gym?
A: I had an eating disorder. I was bulimic/anorexic about 15 years ago. Between modeling, my insane life, and everything in-between, somewhere along the line I got sick and it took me awhile to realize that. One day I saw a poster for a fitness competition and that was it…..I was going to do it. When I set my mind to something, anything, you better believe I’m going to do it, and 100%. So I did. I won five titles in my last year competing and I focused on my writing to tell my story and help other girls in the same situation. To show them size zero doesn’t mean perfect. Being a model does not mean a size zero. Be beautiful, be healthy, be strong, and have it all…… along with honestly being happy with yourself. I went on to work as a pro fitness model and had a really prosperous career in the fitness industry.
Q: Was training something you picked up easily? How long before you started seeing serious results?
A: Yes!!! I should have been born in a gym! I am going to workout until I fall apart. It took at least three years to see solid results and that was with a clean diet and training twice a day.
Q: Was your first competition what you expected or did anything surprise you?
A: OMG….. no it wasn’t. I was not prepared at all. You live and you learn, life is full of experiences.
Q: Can you give your contest history?
A: To be honest, I don’t know off the top of my head. I did my first show, then took off a year to prepare correctly. I think I did about fifteen shows maybe….LOL no idea. I can’t complain, I did well in the sport of figure and fitness.
Q: Do you have any favorites in the sport, or people you admire?
A: I really don’t follow it anymore, but my favorite at the time was Monica Brant.
Q: Do you have future plans to compete?
A: Not at the time. I’m in a new state of being these days, I take everything one day at a time. Maybe when I can’t fight anymore, I will make a comeback 🙂
Q: Let’s move on to your modeling now. What made you want to do that?
A: It went hand in hand with the competing. Hell, if your gonna train your ass off and diet for 14 weeks, might as well take some photos, because looking that good is a huge pain in the ass!
Q: If a photographer or a company looking for a spokes model wanted to use you, how can they contact you?
A: They can email me and I will be happy to comply. I still model from time to time when I’m not too bruised up from training. My email is email@example.com.
Q: Can you share some of the places people may have seen you modeling?
A: Oxygen, Muscular Development, Kodak, Adidas, GNC, Supermodels Unlimited, Fitness and Physique, Natural Muscle, Fight Soap, um….a lot, I can’t remember, bear with me….ha ha. A couple mentioned were TV commercials. Oh yes, and Flex. I was also the spokes model for Champions Nutrition after winning their fitness model contest.
Q: You also are involved in MMA. What got you interested in that?
A: My husband actually began training me in kickboxing to get in shape for my fitness competitions. Then one day I decided to go into “The Boneyard”, the MMA school he was going to, and that was it. I said I wanted to fight after my first Muay Thai class. Everyone laughed at me…. 7 months later, I won my first fight. The rest is in the making.
Q: Is there something you think you are best at or a strength, and anything you think you still need to improve on?
A: Definitely. I don’t think you can ever stop improving. I’m extremely hard on myself to, so I am always trying to perfect everything I do. I love to stand and bang, but I love taking people down at the same time. I’m an amateur, so I think I’m still growing and finding my way. At this point I’m pretty unpredictable. Ya never know what I’m gonna do. I feel my opponent out and go where the fight goes.
Q: So you have fought? What is your record?
A: Yuppers…two MMA fights now. A possible Muay Thai fight in January and a scheduled MMA fight in Indiana for GFIGHT on March 20th. I am 1-1.
Q: So you have plans to fight in the future?
A: Ah, yes, very near future, redeeming a loss mode. More mentally and physically prepared then ever….the mind is a powerful thing. I have learned that luckily early in my career.
Q: Are you in favor of the women finally getting 5 minute rounds?
A: Of course. I want the same respect as the guys. I train like you, cut weight like you, I’m in my long fight shorts and rash guard in the cage….just like you!
Q: Who are the top 4 or 5 women in the sport in your opinion?
A: Megumi Fujii, Cyborg, Gina Carano, Rosi Sexton…. I think I’m right on that one, wasn’t sure if this was in my perspective.
Q:Do you ever see the day when there is a major U.S. promotion only for women?
A: I believe GFIGHT will lead the way for that.
Q: As a woman in the sport, how did it feel to have Gina and Cyborg main even a major show?
A: It was awesome, you never get to see female MMA on TV, it’s ridiculous. I had my calendar marked for a long time. Hopefully, I can mark a lot more dates for that soon.
Q: Ok, play matchmaker. Men or women, if you could make them, what are the 2 fights you most want to see?
A: Geez, I don’t even know who to match BJ Penn up with anymore…heck, I wanna be like BJ. LOL I would like to see Amanda Buckner back in action for sure….hell, maybe Carano vs Buckner or Fujii vs Felice Herrig.
Q: Are there any major misconceptions about women who either train for fitness or train for MMA?
A: Well let’s see. That all women who have muscle are on steroids….get over it, it’s called dedication. Because some women choose to do so, does not mean every fitness, figure, or bodybuilding competitor does the same thing. But, like everything else, it’s ignorance. As a mom, people look down on me also for being a fighter. I have been told I’m selfish, and that it’s an animalistic display or something that shouldn’t be called a sport. And again, it’s people who are obviously uneducated about it and it just doesn’t bother me anymore.
Q: If someone came up to you and said they wanted to start training for MMA, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give them?
A: Go for it. Find a good school first, and take it one day at a time! You only have one life to live and if you don’t want to actually get in the cage and fight, it’s an amazing workout! My body looks better now than it did when I was 20….seriously.
Q: You are also Director of Marketing for an MMA company in New England. Can you talk about that and what it is you do?
A: Other than being behind the scenes of what I love most!!! Yes, I am the Director of Marketing and Promotions for Full Force Productions (www.fullforce.tv). I am in charge of helping to promote upcoming fights, finding sponsors for the event, getting booths and magazine ads for Full Force Magazine. I check in the fighters on fight night, make sure all is well, take care of our guests and VIP’s, a little bit of mic time center cage….so I can run my mouth. I also enjoy watching the best matched fights in New England! Matchmaker and owner Mike Littlefield, along with Mike True put on one hell of a card and that’s why we have an awesome reputation on being the best night of fights around! We actually are working on our next show for February 19th in Westport, Massachusetts!
Q: Do you have any favorite fighters you love to watch?
A: I love me some GSP, BJ Penn, Rampage, Randy, Chuck…and of course, Anderson Silva. For the ladies…Fujii, Carano, Amanda Buckner, Tonya Evinger, Cyborg, Shayna Baszler….um, yeah that’s good.
Q: Name one thing about you that would surprise people.
A: Oh boy. I will say this….I show you only what I want you to see. I am writing a book, a tell all, growing up adopted, drugs, abuse, teenage pregnancy, and more I don’t want to say now because it would pretty much ruin the book. I decided on the book to free myself once and for all.
Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and singer.
A: Movies – we would be here all night. Shows – Bad Girls “woot woot”, Ultimate Fighter, Top Model, Weeds, Vampire Diaries, True Blood. Oh yeah, I love reading spirituality books, Kabbalah, and my newest interest…. sports psychology. Favorite actors – Angelina Jolie and Adam Sandler
Q: Outside of the things we already talked about, any hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Writing, been doing it since I was about 5. Poetry, fitness articles for bodybuilding.com, MMA and nutrition articles for Full Force Magazine. Roller skating like on Saturday nights with the little kids. Yep, I’m a little odd. Bike riding, the beach, scrap booking….anything with my brats, they are the perfect ages now, 9, 11 and 15….dancing like nobody’s watching ( as my jiu jitsu partner would say). I’m outgoing. I am always down….I will never grow up.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tisha Tolliver Rodrigues.
A: Let’s see….boys to school 6:30AM my daughter eats, gets dressed, walk her to school by 8:00AM. Depending on the day, I am either off to the gym or one of my three jobs! I work at a modeling agency as a teacher, I’m a trainer and I work for Full Force. Like today for instance, I worked at my old job Hannoush for extra Christmas money for the kiddo’s….by 2:30PM all hell breaks loose again. I get my daughter back from school, then it’s the boys…homework….dance classes, basketball or jiu jitsu for the kids and training for me and the husband! Then dinner, baths, yelling, laughing, playing and then best of all, sleeping.
Describe Tisha Tolliver Rodrigues in five words.
A: Unpredictable, Loving, Unique, Artistic, and Determined.
Q: Anything else I may have missed that you want to promote or plug?
A: Nah, just check out Full Force Productions and if you are in the area come on down February 19th. For advertising info fell free to contact me through my email or Facebook. I always love to meet people in the MMA world.
Q: In both fitness and MMA, sponsorship is important. Are you looking for any sponsors, and if so, how can they contact you, and tell them what they are getting in an athlete in Tisha Tolliver Rodrigues.
A: I have 2 outstanding sponsors that didn’t write me off for losing one amateur fight. My main man Slade from Tussle Fight Gear and Dominico from Headshot Fight Co. My props to them, they’re always there from day one to the top baby! As far as what they are getting in an athlete….a very positive and determined girl who will get in there and give her all every time, someone grateful and genuine with an amazing love for the sport. I can’t promise I will fight for “them”, but I will always fight for me.
Q: Tisha, I thank you for doing this. Is there anything you want to add before you go?
A: Just a big fan thank you to you for the interview and a great big cyber hug!
**You can read more from Jason Adams’ blog, “Promoting Real Women – A blog to promote and show respect to women in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, powerlifting, and MMA” at