MMA fighting styles

Dear Roxy: Should an injury impact the legitimacy of a win?

Roxanne Modafferi is back in the hot seat for a new edition of Dear Roxythe advice column where the “Happy Warrior” asks questions about combat, training and life in general.

Last week we focused on whether or not MMA needs a “master split,” the possible benefits of fighting with extra weight. We also looked at PEDs in MMA and how much they are worth the cost and how much it costs to train for MMA at a high level.

In today’s column, I’ll be looking at victory by injury stoppage and whether or not it’s less valuable than a standard TKO, submission, or decision victory. I’ll also talk about the tricks to push you in training and the differences, if any, that existed competing for the various organizations I’ve had to fight for over the course of my career.


Dear Roxy,

“Do you think injuries that occur during a fight should impact the legitimacy of a recorded victory? There seems to be a general consensus that Curtis Blayde did not have a great influence on the injury suffered by Tom Aspinal in their recent match… If Yair wins [over Ortega] be considered less credible because he did not specifically apply an “official” submission technique targeting the shoulder? —From Gokou9001

Dear Gokou,

It seems like some differentiation should be made, right? It doesn’t seem fair for an opponent who didn’t cause the injury to move up the rankings. On the other hand, now when I verbalize it, it also doesn’t seem fair to NOT give them credit. The fight is over, the last person standing wins and wins the prize money. The winner trained hard for the fight, put on some weight (hopefully) and got in the cage to do his job. Maybe that’s how it goes when it comes to injuries. Many fighters have fought with injuries and overcome them. Some can’t. I participated in such a match. Maycee Barber injured her ACL in our fight, and it bothered her. However, she was still dangerous, hit me hard and almost kimura me from below. I don’t see a fair way to change the system.

Moreover, it almost does not matter. Matchmakers have certain fights they want to make and have full control over who gets title shots and so on. For example, Fighter A and B are fighting. The matchmaker hopes that A will win because he has more charisma. Fighter A gets injured and B wins, causing everyone to pretend B is ready for the title. Often the matchmaker simply sets it up with someone else as a “qualifier”. Whoever has the power makes the rules.


Dear Roxy,

“Were there any specific mental techniques you would use to push yourself through a tough workout? Also, was it hard to control your adrenaline during a fight? How long did it take to develop this skill? — From Mr. Beavis19

Dear Mr Beavi19,

Yes, more often than not, I had hard training sessions that made me want to quit. Often I was afraid of hurting myself if I continued or of being in too much pain the next day to do anything. Mentally, I would appeal to my pride to keep me going. “How can you live with yourself knowing you’ve given up?” I would wonder. “Naruto or Vegeta wouldn’t give up. You never once gave up your pride as a martial artist. It’s how you get stronger, to push yourself beyond your limits.

The unfortunate result was that I got hurt a lot, honestly. But that kind of mindset has also allowed me to accomplish great things. If I didn’t force myself for fear of getting hurt, I would never have reached the UFC level. From time to time, I would allow myself some wiggle room when it came to the lower back and neck. I was more seriously injured with them at times, and it affected my daily life. However, I made sure to decide what degree I would push myself to BEFORE I started training. Otherwise, it would be a decision made in the pain of emotion, and for me, a weakness of character. For example, “Okay, I have a moving disc, so I’m going to reach a pain level of about ‘five’ (out of ten) today.”

As for your second question, “keep your adrenaline in check during a fight?” I’m not sure what that means, or even if I do or not. There is no “verification”, only an effort.


Dear Roxy,

“As a seasoned mixed martial artist, you’ve competed in various organizations (Strikeforce, Invicta, UFC, etc.) and in different eras (2003-2022)… How do fighter styles compare from one organization to another? Similarly, how has MMA evolved over several eras and what new styles do you think will emerge successfully in the future?” — Taha Téké

Dear Taha Teke,

I think you’re right, MMA is evolving and different places encourage different fighting styles. For example, Thailand is known for its big strikers, America is known for its wrestlers, and Brazil tends to become big jiujitsu practitioners. Does this mean that the Japanese like to tap their feet? (Just kidding…sort of). I think the dominant styles emerge by ebb and flow. There was the age of jiujitsu, then of wrestling, then of roundness. These days, we don’t always see a fighter win in closed guard, when that was once a great place to stage a submission. We no longer see wrestlers laying down and praying like they used to, only holding someone down to keep them from getting up.

I think the current trend is to have a fantastic anti-struggle or takedown defense (see Chris “Actionman” Curtis) and light the opponent on the feet. The Unified Rules encourage this by also being biased towards strikers. They say takedowns, ground control, and positional dominance don’t really matter unless the ground taker can deal damage to the opponent. I might have won my last split decision fight if the rules had given me more credit for my kills and hadn’t said my strikes weren’t ‘meaningful’ when his were. . We threw almost the same number of punches.

It is true that I fought in many organizations, in the United States and in Japan, which did not have unified rules. My grappling skills usually won me the fight, when I did eventually win. I’ll admit I haven’t watched MMA globally in the past five years, but I think dominant styles would indeed emerge around the promotions rule set in the country.


If you would like to submit your own questions for ‘Dear Roxy’, feel free to email me at [email protected], with the subject line ‘Dear Roxy’, or reach out on twitter @RoxyFighter with the hashtag #DearRoxy. Or just leave your questions in a comment below on Bloody Elbow. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.