Roxanne Modafferi is such a breath of fresh air from the usual ridiculous TUF choices to come out of central casting. She draws. She teaches Japanese to fellow competitors. She does arts and crafts. Well, I guess she’s not the first to do arts and crafts in the TUF household, but she is definitely unique, and that makes her so endearing. It also makes it that much harder to watch the ending to her fight against boxing vet Jessica Rakoczy. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time I’ve seen this happen to the Happy Warrior:
Does a fighter need to be aggressive and have a mean streak to be successful? I don’t know. I’m a fan of Roxy and appreciate that she is who she is. What I do know is that it is hard to watch someone who is genuinely likeable get clobbered. Also, adding some salt to the wound is the fact that, like Shanya Baszler, Roxanne is a seasoned vet. She is someone who has worked hard and fought all the toughest competition to get where she is. Unlike Baszler, however, Roxanne comes off as very humble, so to see her get mauled by Jessica Rakoczy was hard to watch. Injury was compounded by insult when the referee, who could clearly see Rakoczy grabbing the fence repeatedly, apparently had a stroke and lost his vision and could not see that Roxanne was in no position to defend herself after she received a slam that eerily resembled Sarah Kaufman’s finish against Roxanne in Strikeforce.
Seeing Baszler and Modafferi consoling each other was a pretty epic sight. It says a lot that two of the most experienced fighters in the house have been defeated, seasoned vets who have fought around the world. It says there are no guarantees. But does it say that the time for these vets has passed? Does it say that these pioneers in women’s MMA, who have been toiling in promotion after promotion making their bones and reputations with any fight they can get, are closer to the downside of their careers? Or does it say that the younger fighters coming up, those looking for UFC success and those within Invicta who have based their training in MMA as a discipline on to itself, owe their success to their foremothers in the sport?
It would be a shame to think this is the last we’ll see of Modafferi and Baszler in the UFC, and hopefully, both can find themselves on the UFC’s roster when this is all said and done, if for nothing else, at least for the finale. The UFC’s women’s division is threadbare and needs quality fighters to fill out the division and make things more competitive.
In any case, the story behind this season’s TUF, and the women’s fights in particular, continue to compel, and I look forward to seeing the next women’s matchup and how the vets handle being in the house when nothing else for them is on the line.
- TUF 18 Episode 4 Results and Recap: Tension Continues, Women Throw Down (bleacherreport.com)