Exclusive interview with Shayna Baszler

If I only had Shayna Baszler with me before I lost my July rent money doubling down in Las Vegas, everything would be cool. Not because they call her the ‘Queen of Spades’, but I needed someone to arm bar the dealer and help me get my money back. Calling Baszler a submission specialist is an understatement. Nine of her nine wins comes via devastating submission. Her blood must be mixed with that deadly Emelianenko strain you heard about in MMA history class. Shayna Baszler is ruthless and the young padawan of none other than the Baby-faced Assassin, Josh Barnett. Check out the exclusive interview conducted by none other than MiddleEasy’s own D**k ‘Starscream’ Grayson. 

How’s your eye? You had an appointment today.My eye? It was just a normal eye appointment, but my eyes apparently every year are getting better and better.

How did the nickname “Queen of Spades” come along?I’m into slight of hand card magic. The spade is the best card and I did this trick for Josh concerning the queen of spades so he started calling me that.

When you say Josh are you referring to Josh Barnett, your coach?Yes.

Why choose Barnett to mentor you?We first met at one of my fights when I fought Tara La Rosa and I don’t know; it’s kind of weird…we talked about it before. I’m not really one of those people that’s walking up to fighters all the time being like ‘Oh I’d like to meet you. Can I get a picture?’ But for some reason Josh, ever since I can remember – has been really supportive and helpful for women’s MMA. So I just went up to him after my fight just to thank him for supporting women’s MMA and such, and we started talking. We started talking at the after party. Found out that we have a lot of the same geeky interests then he started just helping me just at first, giving me some pointers in training stuff like that and now he’s my main coach.

Pretend you’re Barnett’s attorney, give us a statement regarding his present attitude.Well you know I mean I could say a lot of things. Obviously I can’t say too much because he’s still you know going through some legal stuff. Um but I guess what really upsets me the most about the whole situation is how people automatically jump to assumptions. I don’t want to see fans and people jumping to these conclusions until it’s all said and done. People don’t realize how easy it is especially in California because they’re really retarded about stuff like that. All the stuff isn’t laid out yet and there’s more to the story. And so you know…that’s that I guess.

If you could choose another camp, where would you go?I spend a lot of time up at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. They have some really good girls that can box. Kaitlin Young’s up there and we’re friends. We help each other train. That’s like Sean Sherk and Lesnar. That’s a really good school. That’d be a place I’d consider going.

Does Kaitlin have another fight? Uh…no actually Kaitlin’s in a really tough spot and I feel kind of bad for her. She is in a spot where she has a lot of notoriety because of her fight with Gina. So she can’t get any fights at smaller shows because people don’t want to fight her because they all know who she is, but at the same time she’s not like in the top 10. So it’s hard for big shows to want to pay her money to be on, uh so she’s been juggling around trying to find a few options. I know she has a few opportunities happening outside of fighting that are really exciting for her. Um so it’s not like she’s just doing nothing. Hopefully she’ll get back in it really soon.

What’s your take on BJ Penn vs. Florian?Uh…BJ Penn.

Ok. Any particular reason?I think he’s—I think he’s just better at all phases of a fight than Kenny is. That’s not to say Kenny is a bad fighter. I just think BJ has better standup and I think with his take down defense he’s gonna stand and throw around with Kenny and beat him up that way.

Ok. Silva versus Forrest.Oh boy…this is one that I’ve gone back and forth on–on my own. Um but Forrest is one of my favorite fighters so I have to say that I’m cheering for him. Um I think uh …today I’m cheering for Forrest because he’s my favorite fighter but it could be – this is one of those ones where today I say one thing and tomorrow I’ll say another.

Last one. Ricardo Almeida versus Kendall Grove.Oh this is a really interesting one for me too.Um…I’m gonna uh…

If you can’t pick one at least give us an analysis.Well the cage makes it different. I think that Kendall Grove has really under estimated ground but I don’t think he is going to be able to submit Ricardo Almeida. I know that he’s really long so his striking is probably going to be an issue but Ricardo Almeida is one of the best grapplers in the world, so I kinda wanna say…uh…Ricardo Alameida is going to win the decision…By being on top.

Carano versus Cyborg—who takes it?Gina. I think that Cyborg has all the tools to beat Gina but I don’t think that she has a head enough to follow any sort of game plan. She kind of goes in like ‘RAAAWR. I’m a monster!’. Just going kind of ape crazy. I think Gina’s striking is sharper. I think she has kinda a cooler head on her to fight—to put a game plan together so … um yeah, so that’s the way I feel. I think Gina hits harder too.

You already fought Cyborg correct?Yep.

If you were cornering, what would you work on with Gina?Lateral movement and take-down defense. If she ends up clenching her…just defend the right side. Carano, just like Cyborg, gets really happy with her right knee and her right hand from that clench.

Women’s MMA: should they have 5 minute rounds or three minute rounds?Five.

Who would you like to see fight next?I would like to see Kaitlin and Sarah Kaufman fight. Like I said before, Kaitlin is a friend of mine and I know that she was training really hard for Sarah Kaufman. You know right before Elite XC went, they were supposed to fight. So I ‘d like to see those two fight. I think that myself and Miesha Tate would be a good fight next too. I’m not like calling her out, so don’t…

We’ll do it for you. Well I think its logical just because both of us lost to Sarah and both of us are in Strikeforce.

We’ll put it up on the website anonymously and see what happens.Yeah… ‘Shayna called out Meisha Tate…’

What’s your view on the current state of women’s MMA?I think its growing and it’s an exciting time right now because its growing. That’s the best way to say it.

What thing comes naturally to you in MMA?I grew up in a family of wrestlers, so grappling kind of made sense to me.

When you go out with your friends what type of person are you?Um, I’m the loud and crazy, funny one I guess. I don’t get too wild until I get too much to drink…

I came across a picture where you have your butt crack showing. Please explain.Well… uh there’s a water park right out of Sioux Falls called Wild Water West and you know…giant slides to go down all kinds of – a lazy river and a wave pool and all that. But they have this pirate ship where this ginormous bucket fills with water slowly and as it fills it tips and at the end it just dumps an enormous amount of water on everyone that’s standing below waiting in anticipation. So we all were under this bucket waiting and people were taking pictures. It was my birthday. I had a party out there we’re all standing there and the first time, the torrential downpour came and somebody—their bottom came down a little bit and we’re all laughing at them, making fun of them so uh I just turned around, looked at the bucket and I just pulled my swimsuit down a little bit and said ‘don’t worry we’ll make you feel better.’ And then everybody in the line did it too so that was that picture.

Now you watched Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Did you read the book?Yes.

What did you think of it?I love the book. I was going through this time where training was getting old. I didn’t really have my heart in it…kind of going through the motions. So one of my training partners got that for me and wrote me a little note. And actually told me in the note: ‘they’re planning on making a movie of this soon.’ And I read the book and its kind of funny because it was right at the time I fought Amanda Buckner the second time for Bodog. I remember at one point in the fight, I was on my back and she was in my guard and I looked up at the ceiling and there was this painting of a sun and I remember being like ‘ah…we’re all a part of one giant thing’.

Just like Socrates said. Yeah it was kind of funny. But that was during that time so… Yeah I love that book and I love the movie.

Would you rather be a Jedi knight or an elf in the Lord of the Rings?You know…probably a Jedi.

How come?I’m a bigger Star Wars fan than I am Lord of the Rings. But actually this is really funny because I was online talking with some friends of mine that I game with and we were having the discussion: If you could have 5 super powers, what would be the 5 super powers you could have? And there were also stipulations like you had to take negative effects with it too and all this but—my number one thing was Jedi powers.

5 powers? That’s a lot. You guys are pretty generous with your super powers. Well we had to pick 5 and we had to put them in the order we’d have them and then we had to put down—ok, out of those 5 um what would be your number—what would be your 1 one that you would have. And see it got really complicated because you know you couldn’t pick Professor X’s powers and the Flash’s powers because professor X can’t walk—well I mean in more recent times he can but we had to take the negative side of the super hero we picked. So – well no the Flash couldn’t – I mean he cant run – Professor X cant run really fast so if you had Professor X’s powers…I’m using a really lame example but you couldn’t pick powers that conflicted with each other. So someone picked the Phoenix powers and we’re like: ‘Yeah. You’re screwed. Cause you just blew everything. Like you would have no friends.’

Your favorite comic book character?Um…just like American comic books?

No we won’t put a limit on this…any comic book character. Ah man. Well if we’re going with like the DC and Marvel type of comics then I had to say that Deadpool is like my favorite character. Um…Deadpool was before the X-Men movie that totally ruined Deadpool by the way.

They botched it up. That guy is also playing the Green Lantern Right. I didn’t know that. Well Ryan Reynolds is one of the hottest human beings alive and he’s lucky he hasn’t met me or he wouldn’t be married anymore.

You also mentioned that you play video games?  I have a Wii that I play most of the time just because I like having a lot of people over and its one of those systems that anyone can play even if they’re not a gamer. And a PS3.

Why did you pick a PS3 over an Xbox 360? Uh because of the BluRay player honestly.

Top 3 favorite video games of all time. Of all time? Final Fantasy 7, the Zelda that’s on the Wii…Twilight Princess or whatever. I thought that was a great game and probably Tekken. . Tekken Tag was good. I think Tekken 5 was really good. The new Tekken is coming out. I’m just going to say Tekken Tag because that is the one that I play the most when it came out.

Do you like meditate or anything like that? I – if that’s what you would put as a name on it, then yeah. I reflect. I do a lot of studying on my own. I read a lot of different books.

You also play instruments. Is that correct? Yes.

Is there any relation between playing an instrument and MMA? I think that rhythm is important when you fight and breaking someone’s rhythm, so knowing how to go in between stuff like that. So I think that rhythm has helped me. And I think that music has always been a big part of my life. So it’s easy for me when I’m training to like hear the mood of the music and when the music starts to pick up and get harder I start picking it up and training partners of mine have used it against me – well use it against me to help me. Say I’m doing my cardio rounds for a fight, we call them “puke rounds”, and I’m on my last rounds – my last 5 minutes or whatever – in the middle of the round their would be like 3 minutes left and they can tell I’m tired and they put on like a Slayer song or something and I just cant help but go hard. Even when I have nothing left. They kill me.

You said you’re a fan of music. Do you listen to Taylor Swift? No. Uh uh. Not really. Uh … yeah I guess that’s my answer for that

We previously interviewed Roxanne Modaferi. What’s your relationship with her? This is the funny thing about Roxanne and I is we actually met at weigh-ins for the first time…when I was going to fight her. And we started talking and finding out we’re into a lot of the same things. And then we stopped talking all of the sudden. And it was kind of like—Roxanne said it too she was like ‘man! I wish you weren’t so cool so that we could talk to each other!’ She didn’t want to get too friendly before we fought. After we fought, it was great. She took me out to eat like right after we fought. The event was still going on. We went out to eat. Um and the next day we got up early and she took me all over Tokyo. Showing me stuff, sight-seeing. She took me to this crazy toy store that’s like 6 stories tall and like I went crazy and uh. It was fun. We emailed from time to time. We joke with each other on the internet. So I don’t know, it’s funny that Tara and I were friends a little bit, but then after we fought we became really good friends and now, we can’t wait to fight again. You know Sarah of course—me and Sarah actually rode from the hotel to the event where we were going to fight each other together. Like next to each other on the bus. Yeah talking about um…I don’t even remember. I think we were actually talking about Cyborg because she was on the bus too. And how because – do you remember because the weigh ins went all crazy. Its hard especially being in the female fight world where there’s so few of us, we’re all kind friends.

What are your thoughts on MMA fashion? Haha. Uh I actually – I’m one of the few people that kind of likes Affliction shirts. Um I don’t know. I like Affliction shirts, but I don’t like that sometimes douchebags wear them. But I guess douchebags are going to wear any kind of shirt that makes them look tough, so whatever. But um yeah I kind of like Affliction shirts. Of course there’s some of them where I’m like ‘Uh that’s too much!’ but that’s with anything.

F, Marry, Kill: Cyclops, Jean Grey and Colossus. Ok. Um, I’m going to have to say – well clearly Jean Grey is the one I’d throw off a cliff because she becomes like the most all-powerful mutant ever at some point. So I can’t have that…cramping my style. I mean my healing ability only bumps my eye balls one step each time so I’ve got to develop that a little bit more. And if people follow my Facebook, not my fan page; my personal Facebook…I put on there—today ‘I’m wondering how my eye doctor is able to straighten my eyes and not fall for the Baszler charm’. I’d like to figure this out before I take the world over.

Do you watch True Blood? Do you know the term glamoring? No, I don’t know about that.

That’s exactly what you’re talking about! You’ve got to watch some True Blood. See I have Showtime, so I don’t know. See obviously my powers aren’t developed quite enough yet, so I’d have to take Jean Grey over the cliff. Because she would totally show me up at this point. Uh I guess I would have to – I guess Id marry Cyclops.

He’s a dork. Yeah but see that’s just it. He’s the guy that’s going to like stay there and be around and take care of everything.

You’re taking this question so seriously. Colossus would be the one night stand guy because he’s hot and he’s got a really good body and, in the end…who wants to marry a Russian? I’m just kidding. That was a joke. Nobody be offended. That was a joke.

Any shout outs? I want to thank..oh man let’s hope I remember everything. Hitman Fight Gear, Rokk Clothing, Lethal Performance, Room 101 Silver, the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz

What are your thoughts on roller derby? I love Roller Derby. And the Sioux Falls team is really supportive of me and they help me out a lot of local stuff. Um they are like super heroes in town. They are like the celebrities. So they kind of help me…. And then of Next Edge…my hometown where I train and everybody at CSW and Josh.
Published on August 6, 2009 at 7:10 am
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