Imagine you and a childhood friend playing Mario Kart in your living room…you win. Suddenly you wake up with a slight headache and a bloody nose. Standing over you with a clenched fist and an apologetic smile is that same childhood friend, Roxanne Modafferi. How many chicks can: consider themselves gamers, speak japanese fluently, not drink alcohol, call out other fighters, and have enough audacity to sleep with Zangief. Oh by the way, she fought Karate Kid and won.
For MiddleEasy.com’s first female fighter interview, we were lucky enough to bug Roxanne Modafferi…via friggin Japan! Our very own Dick “Starscream” Grayson got a chance to speak with the mma expatriate.
What time do you wake up?Recently, I’ve been waking up at 4:30am or 5am. My training schedule has shifted a little bit, I’ve been training earlier in the evening and going to sleep a little earlier. Plus, I think the daylight savings time might–like it’s getting lighter earlier, but we don’t actually change the clock in Japan, so I naturally wake up when the sun comes up basically.
First things first, why are you in Japan?Yes, I have three main purposes; the first one is to learn to speak Japanese fluently. And the second one is to train and fight MMA. These are in no particular order I guess. And the third one is to teach English.
You want to be a teacher?Yes I do, did. Well, as a kid I always wanted to be a teacher, and then coming to Japan to teach, the teaching was kind of the “in” that I needed; so my goal was to be a translator of some kind and teaching is like “Oh, okay that’ll get me to Japan”, but now that I’m here and teaching, I really enjoy teaching so–kind of like a dream I had, I dropped and then I picked back up again…my goal is to become a translator or an interpreter and make lots of money doing that, haha.
Do you eventually want to come back to America?I do…um, it depends on my opportunities I suppose, if I have the chance to use my Japanese in the States I would, or make more money there then I would, but for now I enjoy being here. I consider it home.
What is a typical day like for Roxanne?Well each day is different because I have shifts of work and training but let’s say for example Thursday; I might wake up in the morning, really early, uh, clean my house, my apartment, either go to the gym or go to a private lesson, whichever I scheduled, um, come back, have lunch, um, do chores, and then go to work in the afternoon or evening…sometimes, I have of course all day work and then no training time and some days I have a full day off of work so I train in the morning and then in the evening too. So it varies.
What do you do for fun…in Japan?Yes, um, I love going to arcades and playing “Dance Dance Revolution”. I love fighting games, I love “Soul Caliber” and those–“Tekken” in the arcades, I love “Mario Kart”, I love going to museums, art museums, science museums, I love walking around, seeing historical buildings going to shrines, just going through stores and browsing book stores. Um, I love going to crazy restaurants and eating crazy food.
Carano v. Cyborg, who takes it? That’s a tough one, everyone is saying it’s either like the beast with raw power (Cyborg) or Carano with the technique; but um for technique, I saw good stand up, I’m not sure exactly how technical she was because like for example when she fought Kelly Kobold, Kelly was doing a lot of pushing her into the cage so we really didn’t get a good opportunity to see a lot of–I mean, technique demonstrated. I’m kind of afraid to say that, so I’m not really sure if Carano has been tested so much. She’s fought a lot of lighter opponents so I’m really not sure, like I wouldn’t bet money on either one because I think Cyborg is like an animal and I think Carano—yea, so I’m not sure to be honest with you.
You called out Shayna Baszler…Was that Laura D’Auguste?
So you did it twice? That’s the most baller thing we’ve ever heard.Well, I’m not getting fights here in Japan, so I want someone to give me a match; and I really want to fight these people so I’m hoping that by calling them out someone, some promoter would be like “Ooh, that looks cool let’s match her up!” and it hasn’t been working at all, hahaha. No one pays attention to me, hahaha. I’m on an island like “Here, someone fight me” and people are like, “Who is she? She’s on an island”, you know?
If Brock Lesner was a female, what would your strategy be?That’s a good question, hahahaha.
It’s a ridiculous question.Yea let’s see, uh, my strategy would be probably to, try to neutralize the strength by pushing the person into the cage. Um, try not to get fallen upon, haha. Try to–I guess if we were standing, use my speed, agility to my advantage and maybe pick them apart as much as I could, make them tired, tire them out I guess….
Should women go 5 minute rounds?Of course. It should be exactly the same as men.
If you could train with any camp, which would it be?This is a tough one. I’m interested in visiting Team Couture and also Tito’s camp. It looks painful but I was impressed with his coaching style on the Ultimate Fighter way back when, so I’m interested in experiencing that. Um, also I use to train at Sityodtong in Boston, Mark Dellagrotte. I was there maybe 4 years ago and I’m sure it’s changed, I know more pro fighters are like training regularly out of there now so I’d be interested in going back there…by the way if you wanted to end my comment on the strategy of the female Brock Lesner, you can just say, “I’ll knock her block off!”, leave it at that, haha.
Watching your fights you’re pretty scrappy…That has changed actually; it used to be uh, “GET HER! GET HER! GET HER! DAAHHH!” But it was a little too serious and I got really tense and I lost a few times so I try to change my mind set to, “This makes me happy, I love to do this, it’s fun”. And I changed my music from like death metal entrance music to like happy-go-lucky music and I felt more into it and more like I can focus easier; so I just look at it as, “I love it, I just love it”. I try to focus on, you know, of course beating my opponent; she’s enemy #1 for the next whatever how many minutes and try to relax and do what I love.
How late are bars open in Japan?Uh, let’s see, I’m not a bar person per se, I know Hidakaya (Japanese-style restaurants, completely misspelled, we’re not Japanese) are open until–one’s open till 12 I know and then the popular ones are open until like 5am.
Have you ever been in a street fight?No. I don’t think I’ve come close actually, no– I never. Yea, I don’t think I’ve been in a confrontational situation outside of the dojo. Unless you count me holding a soccer team’s player back from fighting in high school.
First game system?Uh, the original Nintendo… “Bubble Bobble” I love. Actually, take away “Populace” and put “Bubble Bobble”.
Do you read comic books or manga? I used to read manga, but um I don’t get it in English anymore and it takes me a really long time to read the Japanese. I start to read the freakin dictionary cause I’m like like “Ohhh, this is interesting, I like this story”, so it doesn’t quite work. I’m such a nerd I read the dictionary man, hahaha.
Talent other than fighting?Um, I think I’m decent at writing; writing in English, poems, articles stories, things like that.
F/Marry/Kill: Ken, Zangief, and Chun Li?Well, I guess I’d have to marry Ken and–well, Chun Li is a girl, man, so I guess I’d have to throw her off the cliff, lol. And I’ll have an affair with Zangief; I don’t know Zangief at all. I’ll guess I’ll get to, haha.
Any shout-outs?Uh yea, I’d like to thank everyone on the net at websites who support me, for example you guys, Fightlinker guys, MMA.TV, all the people who are rooting for me and hope that I get a fight but don’t have any power to make it happen, I still want to thank you for your support, haha.